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l?> t 51 




WHILE a study, drawn from original sources, 
representing the character, habits and surroundings 
of an English Princess who died a hundred years 
ago, may fairly be considered as a contribution to 
domestic history, it seems peculiarly appropriate on 
the centenary of the death of the amiable Princess 
Amelia to tell the true story of her life, and of her 
attachment to General Charles FitzRoy, if only to 
clear away misconceptions which have gathered 
around her memory, and to rebut certain slanders 
which recently have been revived. 

The love-affair of this Princess was concealed by 


her family, as far as possible, from the world at the 
time of her death. She herself appears to have 
gloried in her innocent attachment, and certainly by 
the terms of her will desired to make her betrothal a 
matter of public knowledge. The suppression of 
her testamentary wishes by her family at the time 
of her death was, to say the least, ill-judged. Gossip 
and scandal were not the less busy with her name. 
Even to this day some, apparently, confound her 


story with that of less innocent members of her 
family ; others have actually gone so far as to assert 
that they knew her " descendants." 

Extracts from letters of Princess Amelia's intimate 
friend the Honourable Mrs. George Villiers, mother 
of the fourth Earl of Clarendon (published for the 
first time in this volume), completely refute the 
calumnies to which we allude; while the original 
letters of Princess Amelia herself to General Fitz- 
Roy (also published for the first time) are the out- 
pourings from the heart of a romantic girl whom fate 
has cruelly withheld from her lover the chivalrous 
lover who she fondly hopes will some day become 
her acknowledged husband. Moreover, with these 
letters, certain papers expressing the dying wishes of 
the Princess indisputably assert the innocence of her 
attachment. All these last-mentioned letters and 
papers, written during the first decade of the nine- 
teenth century, and treasured by General FitzRoy, 
were, on his decease, preserved by the lady whom he 
married some years after the death of the Princess. 
Mrs. FitzRoy bequeathed them to her sister the 
late Lady Wensleydale; and on the death of the 
latter they passed to her daughter the late Honour- 
able Mrs. William Lowther. 

Mrs. Lowther wished the story of Princess Amelia 
to be published, and asked the author of this memoir 
to write it. It may be added that without her 



encouragement throughout, the work would never 
have been accomplished. He desires to express 
his gratitude to the memory of Mrs. Lowther; also 
to the memory of Lady Leigh (born Lady Caroline 
Amelia Grosvenor), who contributed, during the 
progress of the book, valuable information and sug- 
gestions. His thanks are especially due to Mrs. 
Ernest Farquhar for supplying extracts from the 
papers of her father the late Sir T. Villiers 
Lister (notably a letter from Mrs. Farquhar's 
great - grandmother the above - mentioned Mrs. 
Villiers, addressed to her daughter Lady Theresa 
Lewis); also to the Honourable Mrs. R. C. Boyle 
(known in art and literature as " E. V. B."), whose 
grandmother Lady Albinia Cumberland was a 
lady-in-waiting to the Princesses daughters of 
George III. Several letters written to or by Lady 
Albinia Cumberland, together with a remarkable 
contemporary diary giving an account of the death 
of Princess Amelia and the circumstances which 
accompanied it, are from Mrs. Boyle's papers. 





Two Amelias contrasted Sensitive character of our 
heroine Her pure romance Unromantic surround- 
ings Her elder sisters Mr. Wilkins's character of 
Queen Charlotte George III compared with Charle- 
magne The Princess Royal's unromantic courtship 
Late marriages of the Princesses Elizabeth and 
Mary Allusions to Princess Augusta and Princess 
Sophia ......... 17 



Birth of Princess Amelia A bright glimpse of childhood 
The King's first mental illness in 1788 A melan- 
choly incident at Kew Conduct of the Prince of 
Wales King's recovery Public rejoicings Little 
Amelia and dear papa The governesses Princess 
Royal's superintendence ...... 28 



Amelia's early development Personal appearance Her 
physician Sir Lucas Pepys Cuppings and bleedings 
Visit to Worthing Amelia's letters to Lady 
Albinia Cumberland This lady confounded with 
Lady Almeria Carpenter Richard Cumberland the 
dramatist His verses A visit to Juniper Hill 
Fanny Burney's description Amelia's Confirmation 
Her love for her father . . . . -36 





Royal troubles Visit to Weymouth In charge of Miss 
Gomme General FitzRoy in attendance His birth 
and appearance " Prince Charles " His early years 
Frederick the Great's attentions His note to 
FitzRoy The Duchess of Brunswick's allusions to 
FitzRoy 'His good heart Rides with Princess 
Amelia Their attachment . . . . . 51 



Miss Gomme 's confidences Miss Golds worthy Deaf as 
a post Princess Mary Amelia's distress Writes 
to her mother Queen Charlotte's letters to Amelia 
'Amelia's letter to her mother To Princess Mary 57 


The Queen's attitude Aware of the attachment Takes 

no heed Rigid etiquette 68 


A tender letter Attitude of the brothers and sisters . 72 


1803 (continued) 1804 

Amelia's illness Princess Augusta's commiseration 
Amelia's directions to FitzRoy in case of death 
Recovery Gratitude for kindness Harcourt Papers 

quoted 78 






The King's temporary return of insanity Jesse's 
Memoirs quoted Mrs. George Villiers Her letter 
to Lady Theresa Lewis Villiers-Lister Papers 
Mrs. Villiers's intimacy with the Royal Family A 
melancholy time The King's outbursts of fatuity 
Drives and rides at Kew The King harangues 
Harrow boys Devotion of the Princesses to their 
father Princess Sophia's confidences Princess 
Amelia and FitzRoy The King's attitude . . 82 


1804 (continued) 

Weymouth Disunion in the Royal Family The visit 
to Cuffnells Princess Amelia's fall The King's 
behaviour The return to Windsor Lord Auck- 
land's correspondence quoted 90 



A Court concert in London " Improvements " at Wind- 
sor Castle Court festivities Letter of Princess 
Mary to Lady Albinia Cumberland The King's 
fondness for children Princess Amelia's age The 
Royal Marriage Act Anticipations of marriage 
"A. F. R." FitzRoy 's conduct honourable . . 96 


Inmates of Windsor Castle News of Trafalgar Cur- 
rent affairs Amelia's letters to Mrs. Villiers 
Illness of Pitt, January 1806 Doctors "all mad" 
Dr. Farquhar stops Pitt's wine Pitt's death 
" The Dear " oppressed but calm Routine at 
Windsor 103 





Amelia s visit to Stoke Bruerne The home of the Went- 
worth-Vernons Destruction in 1886 Some inter- 
esting relics Princess Amelia the First Her char- 
acter contrasted Her liaison Her Woman of the 
Chamber Sixty years later The younger Amelia 
Curious tradition respecting her Her miniature at 
Stoke Bruerne . . . . . . .114 



Snuff-taking Two love-letters From A. F. R. to 
C. F. R. Lord Bagot's marriage A watch and 
chain to be mended A " repeater " " My side of 
the carriage " The Queen's tool "The Dear " too 
kingly to pity A boring party " I really must 
marry you " 121 

1807 (continued) 

Family intrigues The Duke of Sussex's affectionate 
letter Prudence to be the watchword Cheltenham 
Waters Mysterious allusions Mary Anne Gaskoin 
'Mrs. Villiers's letter again quoted The other 
Princesses 'attitude Mrs. Villiers declines to inter- 
fere 127 


1807 (continued) 

Queen Charlotte's description " La bande contente " 
Miss Gomme's bomb The Queen "outrageous" 
Amelia's agitation Her letter to FitzRoy Enters 
the Duke of York Elizabeth's part The Queen's 
position Defence of Amelia . . . . . 133 


1807 (continued) 

Queen Charlotte's letter to Amelia Counsels of perfec- 
tion The governesses again Amelia's despera- 




tion Mrs. Villiers's advice Amelia's devotion to 
her father Her sacrifice . . . . . .144 

1807 (continued) 

Amelia appeals to FitzRoy A letter of the Duke of 
York Lady Georgiana Buckley's threats Her 
revengeful disposition Lady Matilda Wynyard 
Her " truthful integrity " Princess Mary Pre- 
parations for Holy Communion Amelia's forgive- 
ness . . . . . . . . .150 


Amelia's benevolence Protection of orphans Hone's 
Every Day Book quoted Amelia's letter to an 
orphan Her interest in other children A letter to 
Lady Harcourt quoted Augusta d'Este Letter 
from the Duke of Clarence George FitzClarence 
Amelia's expenses Borrows from FitzRoy Mrs. 
Villiers's counsels . . . . . . . 159 



Was the King "got at"? Amelia's "late father" 
The King's condition The Prince of Wales her 
only hope His professions of sympathy Amelia's 
gradual decline 'Her touching legacy of wishes 
Mrs. Villiers's letter to her brother "Le medecin 
touchant " Allusions to " Jodeley " A copy of the 
Royal Marriage Act Amelia writes to the Prince of 
Wales and the Lord Chancellor Reasons for wait- 
ing The "sacred vow of marriage" . . . 170 


The affair of the Duke of York and Mrs. Clarke 

Unhappiness of the Royal Family . . . .185 



1809 (continued) 


A change of physicians Dr. Pope The Queen's 
obstruction The Prince of Wales insists The 
Queen stops Mrs. Villiers's visits Mrs. Villiers 
wins the day Amelia's alarming state "The 
Queen's stupid birthday " 189 

1809 (continued)-i8io 

A temporary rally Disappointed hopes More "last 
wishes " sealed A last visit to Weymouth Return 
to Windsor The Queen's harshness Princess 
Mary's kindness Prince of Wales 's effusive letter 
Duke of York's letter The King's letters The 
Princess of Wales 's gossip ..... 197 


1810 (continued) 

Mistaken supposition of Princess Amelia's marriage 
Mrs. Villiers's important statement Contradiction 
of reports Character of Amelia vindicated Her 
own significant words Dying letter to FitzRoy 
Statement as to will . . . . . .210 


1810 (continued) 

The King's absorbing anxiety His interviews with 
his daughter His religious conversation FitzRoy 
secretly admitted to the dying Princess Princess 
Augusta's connivance Mary Anne Gaskoin's letter 218 

Miss Cornelia Knight quoted Princess Augusta's gift 
Amelia presents her father with a ring " Remember 




me " Effect on the King Amelia's death Princess 
Mary's note to FitzRoy Amelia's last words Miss 
Cumberland's memoranda Details of death Con- 
duct of the family Funeral arrangements Dr. 
Meadows non-existent Amelia's consideration of 
others Her touching prayer Verses supposed to 
be by Princess Amelia ...... 224 


1810 (continued) 

The King's condition Selects the Anthem Funeral by 
torchlight Account of the ceremony Feeling 
throughout the country Elegies on the Princess 
Death of Mary Anne Gaskoin Her epitaph . . 238 

1810 (continued) 

The will How to evade it FitzRoy to resign A flat- 
tering interview " A fraternal hug " Insincere 
promises FitzRoy consents Mrs. Villiers's account 
FitzRoy " pillaged " 250 


Suspicions confirmed Promises unkept The snuff-box 
and picture Disposal of the diamonds A list of 
them Debt to FitzRoy unpaid He receives nothing 
of value Counsel's opinion ..... 262 



A tactful physician " A Lady of Quality " quoted Pub- 
lished notices of the will The Prince Regent's tears 
Lady Albinia Cumberland's account of the King's 
madness in 1811 A touching memento of the King 
Sir Herbert Taylor's letter to FitzRoy FitzRoy 
marries His widow's bequests Mrs. W. Lowther's 
relics of Princess Amelia Concluding remarks . 276 





j. On the appointment of Lady Albinia as a Lady-in- 
Waiting to the Princesses The Lady Jane Dundas 
to the Lady Albinia Cumberland .... 286 

2. The wedding- of the Princess Royal with the Prince of 

Wiirtemberg H.R.H. Princess Sophia to the Lady 
Albinia Cumberland ....... 288 

3. The same occasion H.R.H. Princess Mary to the 

Lady Albinia Cumberland ..... 288 

4. A party of the Duke of York H.R.H. Princess Eliza- 

beth to the Lady Albinia Cumberland . . . 289 

5. Allusions to H.R.H. Princess Charlotte The Lady 

Albinia Cumberland to hr daughter Albinia, Mrs. 
Alexander Gordon of Ellon . . . . .291 

6. A letter already quoted ...... 293 

7. On the death of Miss Harriet Cumberland Extract of 

letter from H.R.H. Princess Mary to the Lady 
Albinia Cumberland ...... 294 

8. The reduction of the salaries of the Ladies-in-Waiting 

Extract of letter from H.R.H. Princess Mary to 
the Lady Albinia Cumberland ..... 294 

9. The wedding of Princess Mary and the Duke of 

Gloucester The Lady Albinia Cumberland to her 
daughter Albinia ....... 296 

The Royal Marriage Act ...... 299 


A list of the different articles allotted to the different 
individuals by the executors of the late Princess 
Amelia ......... 302 

Counsel's opinion of General FitzRoy's case . . . 305 

INDEX 309 



To face page 

{From a Miniature in the possession of the late Honourable Mrs. 
William Lowther) 


(From a Painting at Windsor) 


(From a Painting by Sir William Beechey) 


H.R.H. PRINCESS AMELIA . . . . . . . Il8 

(From a Miniature at Stoke Bruerne in the possession of 
B. Wentworth- Vernon, Esquire) 

H.R.H. PRINCESS ELIZABETH . . . . . .136 

(From a Painting by Sir William Beechey) 


(From a Painting by Sir William Beechey) 


(From a Painting by Andrew Robertson) 








"With all the virtues blest and every grace, 
To charm the world and dignify her race." 

PETER PINDAR : " Elegy on Princess Amelia," 
Gentleman's Magazine, 1810. 

IT might seem unnecessary to point out that the 
heroine of this memoir, Princess Amelia, the sixth 
daughter of King George III and Queen Charlotte, 
should not be confounded with her strong-minded 
great-aunt and godmother Princess Amelia, 
daughter of George II. Yet a portrait of the elder 
Princess has lately been reproduced as a portrait 
of the younger. They were as dissimilar 1 in their 

1 The one feature which their histories have in common 
their respective lovers were of the same name and family 
will be noticed in due course. 

B 17 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

persons as in their natures. The elder Amelia, 
who died in 1786 when her great-niece was a child 
of three, was noted for good sense of a robust and 
somewhat coarse quality, whereas " sensibility " 
rather than "sense" was perhaps the chief 
characteristic of the Amelia of our romance. 

She was, however, of a resolute disposition, and 
although frail health had been her portion from 
childhood, it did not break her high spirit and gay 
humour, and she bore suffering with remarkable 
cheerfulness and fortitude. 

But she was of a very sensitive nature, extremely 
grateful for kindness and sympathy; and was 
endowed with that pure quality of love which draws 
affection to itself and gives itself unselfishly in 
return. Of all her sisters, among whom we look in 
vain for a touch of pure romance, she alone seems 
to have had her young life gilded by its light, 
illumining the shadows of an otherwise sad and 
suffering lot. It may be contended continuing 
the metaphor that it was rather a flame which 
finally consumed her life. Be it so. But we believe, 
as we trace this love-story through its years of un- 
satisfied passion, that both Amelia and her chivalrous 
lover were persons of finer feeling and higher ideals 
than those by whom they were surrounded. 

Save in this flower of the flock, never a trace of 

idealism is discernible among the bevy of royal 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

brothers and sisters. Their honoured parents were 
indeed in their domestic aspect chiefly remarkable 
for a commonplace and bourgeois worthiness. All 
romance had died early in the King's life with his 
attachment to the fascinating Lady Sarah Lennox 
perhaps we ought also to mention Hannah Light- 
foot. Charlotte of Mecklenburg was assuredly not 
one to inspire romance. Mrs. Delany and Fanny 
Burney have left us charming pictures of the 
domestic habits of the King and Queen, but their 
somewhat unattractive virtues do not seem to have 
widely influenced the tone of fashionable society, 
from which they lived much aloof. With all their 
merits, alloyed as these were with certain unworthy 
qualities, they did not, as did their illustrious grand- 
daughter Victoria the Great, impress the stamp of 
high ideals on their generation. Society retained 
its looseness with little of the modern veneer of 
decency, and saw nothing in the virtues of the King 
and Queen but matter for ridicule or contempt. 
Religion among the aristocracy was as yet confined 
to a few families, and pious persons were looked 
upon as bores or hypocrites, and dubbed oppro- 
briously if vaguely " methodists." " She has turned 
methodist," was the usual comment on some lady 
who adopted a higher standard than the rest. Thus 
when the elder royal children came to years of dis- 
cretion or indiscretion they found a world awaiting 

B 2 19 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

them only too eager to initiate them into a pleasanter 
and laxer view of things. The sons, gtown to 
adolescence, were naturally eager to break loose 
from the monotonous boundaries of a strict and 
narrow home circle where, according to a reliable 
tradition, they were still constrained to do worsted- 
work, and, once free, were bent on indulging every 
selfish fancy without restraint. 

As for the daughters : it is true that in regard to 
their persons and manners the five elder Princesses 
were all remarkably comely, fine young women, ex- 
tremely pleasant and familiar with their inferiors in 
ordinary life, reserving grand airs for grand occa- 
sions (when, by the way, they could be extremely 
dignified); and their lively letters to Countess Har- 
court (published among the Harcourt Papers] show 
them to have been in their early youth instinct with 
a fresh and healthy enjoyment of things. 1 But 

1 All the Princesses were excellent and even brilliant letter 
writers. The following extract from a letter of Princess 
Elizabeth to Lady Harcourt (Harcourt Papers, Vol. VI.) 
shows an amusing aspect of the habits and tone of the 
fashionable world. "I enclose you," she writes, "a new 
vocabulary which has just come out " : 

" Vernacular terms Fashionable sense 

Age . An infirmity nobody knows. 

Day . 
Night . 
Debt . 

Something to swear by. 

A place for pigs and poultry. 



A necessary evil. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

bored to death with their dull and restricted sur- 
roundings, and living in their separate lodgings at 
Windsor, cut off from the main building of the 
Castle (tradition records that they had to put on 
thick boots to cross the sloppy courts and alleys each 
time they were summoned to join their royal parents), 
some at least of the more lively of these Princesses 
contrived to elude the watchfulness of "mama." 
Certainly, as time went on, this was not difficult, for 
the Queen's thoughts became wholly engrossed 
by the King's health, and by the private anxieties 
and the political intrigues and squabbles which 
revolved around it. Indeed, poor Queen Charlotte 
seems to have wished to ignore anything of an unde- 
sirable nature lest it should cross her own sancti- 
monious path. 

Vernacular t 


Fashionable sense. 


Keeping up appearances. 




Half naked. 


The most delightful place. 


Daily occupation. 





Pay . 

Only applied to visits. 


The cant of silly people. 


Having a pew in church. 

Time . 

Only applied to music. 


Keeping a mistress. 


Only applied to horses. 


Complete clothing. 


Amusing conversation. 

Work . 

A vulgarism." 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

The writer possesses a letter written to him by 
the late Mr. W. H. Wilkins, the historian of eigh- 
teenth-century Courts, in which he says : " It seems 
to me that from the time the King first lost his 
reason in 1788 and regained it in 1789 the one object 
of Queen Charlotte was to keep all agitating things 
from the King's knowledge. Self-interest dictated 
this as much as concern for the King's health. She 
and Pitt frequently concealed his real state of 
health from his sons; there is little doubt that he 
was frequently insane for short periods between 
1789 and the final breakdown after Princess 
Amelia's death [in 1810]. I doubt if she had any 
real love for any of her children, except perhaps 
her eldest son (and she quarrelled violently with 
him). She was quite indifferent about their happi- 
ness. In her life I find little trace of real reli- 
gion, though texts were always on her lips. It is 
no merit that she was virtuous . . . for she could 
never have known temptation, and she was quite 
ready to wink at vice when it suited her purpose 
her patronage of the notorious Lady Jersey for 
instance." 1 

1 The letter is dated September 21, 1904. Mr. Wilkins 
was then engaged in writing a life of Queen Charlotte to 
follow the other books he had written on the House of 
Hanover, but unfortunately he had not completed it at the 
time of his lamented death, though he lived to publish 
George IV and Mrs. Fitzherbert. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

The Princesses early acquired their notions of 
morality less from their virtuous parents, or from 
the worthiest of the many governesses who had been 
provided to superintend their education, than from 
certain matrons or maids-of -honour or dishonour 
with whom they came in contact, or from such 
glimpses of the outside world as they derived from 
their brothers. Our remarks apply to Amelia's 
sisters, the eldest of whom, the Princess Royal, was 
seventeen years old at the time of Amelia's birth; 
while the others were her seniors in varying degrees, 
Augusta by fifteen years, Elizabeth by thirteen, 
Mary by seven, and Sophia by five. 

The elder Princesses, when they grew up, were 
most anxious that husbands should be found for 
them. But the attitude of the King was not 
encouraging. A reliable tradition records that the 
King positively "howled" whenever the subject of 
his daughters marrying was broached. 

A strange historical parallel may be found be- 
tween George III and Charlemagne in their 
domestic aspects ; indeed, Eginhard's account of the 
great German conqueror's family life may be quoted 
as an almost exact description of that of the English 
sovereign a thousand years later in regard to the 
latter we speak, of course, of that period of his life 
which preceded the breakdown of his mental powers. 
" He was so careful in the bringing up of his sons 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

and daughters," says the historian of Charlemagne, 1 
"that when at home he never dined without them, 
and they always accompanied him on his journeys, 
his sons riding by his side and his daughters follow- 
ing close behind, attended by a train of servants 
appointed for that purpose. His daughters were 
very fair, and he loved them passionately. Strange 
to say, he would never consent to give them in mar- 
riage [George III gave only one of his daughters 
in marriage, and her very unwillingly] either to any 
of his own nation or to foreigners; but he kept 
them all at home and near his person at all times 
until his death, for he used to say that he could not 
deprive himself of their society. On account of 
this, although happy in all else, he here experi- 
enced the malignity of fortune ; but he concealed his 
vexation, and conducted himself as if they had 
never given rise to injurious suspicions, and as if 
no reports had ever gone abroad concerning them." 2 

1 Eginhard's Life of Karl the Great, translated by W. 
Glaister, p. 70. 

2 The above parallel was pointed out to the author by 
the late Lady Leigh (born Lady Caroline Amelia Grosvenor), 
who remembered hearing many interesting traditions about 
the Royal Family from her father Lord Westminster, whose 
grandfather the then Lord Wilton was intimate with 
George III. "King George," wrote Lady Leigh, "used to 
spend his time in playing on the violoncello with Sir 
Thomas Egerton, Lord Wilton, my great-grandfather, my 
grandmother [Lady Grosvenor] 's father." Lady Leigh to 
W. Childe-Pemberton, September 6, 1904. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

The appropriateness of the last sentence in illus- 
trating the attitude of King George with regard to 
his daughters will be the more appreciated as we 
observe the disastrous results of this prohibition of 

Perhaps the unsettled state of Germany at the 
time of the French Revolution, and after it, made 
the selection of Protestant husbands difficult. How- 
ever that may be, the early youth of the Princesses 
passed and they remained unwedded. 

After many years of waiting the Princess Royal 
determined to arrange a marriage for herself. The 
Prince of Wurtemberg was a widower and a Pro- 
testant, and therefore eligible. King George, it is 
said, secretly believing that the Prince would be 
unable to clear himself from certain suspicions con- 
nected with the death of his first wife, consented 
that, if he could do so, he should be allowed to 
become a suitor for the hand of the Princess Royal. 
The Prince completely succeeded in refuting the 
calumnies of his enemies, and the King, too honour- 
able to break his word, raised no further objections 
and gave his consent. 

The Prince accordingly arrived in England. But 
what a suitor was this bulkiest prince in Europe, 
of whom Napoleon said when he made him a king 
that the King of Wurtemberg seemed created to 
show to what an extent the human skin could be 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

stretched without bursting. No wonder the Princess 
Royal, during her first interview with her future 
husband, was unable to utter a word. But if 
this courtship was unromantic she was none 
the less grateful to her corpulent spouse, quitted 
her native land with joy, and lived happy ever 

It was not till many years had elapsed and mean- 
while King George had long ceased to rule that the 
Princess Elizabeth, at the ripe age of forty-nine, 1 
gladly married the Landgraf of Hessen-Homburg. 
He is described by a contemporary as having a face 
like a snout. ' You never saw such a disgusting 
object," wrote another. 2 

The amiable Princess Mary tardily found a mate 
in her cousin the Duke of Gloucester, whose intel- 
lect was somewhat weak. Her father had been 
many years in seclusion when the marriage took 

Truly matrimony did not present itself in an 
ideal light to the three married Princesses. 

1 This Princess in early youth had made a secret marriage 
with a Mr. Ramus, by whom she had children. But the 
circumstances were unromantic. 

2 It should be added that Homburg does not, because 
this union was unromantic, any the less cherish the memory 
of the ten beneficent years it lasted, during which the Eng- 
lish Princess endeared herself to her husband's subjects by 
her charity and good works. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Of the unmarried daughters : Princess Augusta * 
was highly accomplished and artistic; while the ill- 
starred Princess Sophia is said to have been the 
cleverest of the family. Never a ray of romance 
gilded her appalling story. 

1 Princess Augusta was much attached to her physician 
Dr. Vaughan, better known as Sir Henry Halford. Many 
of her letters to him of an intimate character were preserved 
at Wistow, the Halfords' place in Leicestershire, until they 
were sent to Queen Victoria by the last Baronet. 





THE fifteenth child of her parents, her Royal High- 
ness Princess Amelia was born at Queen's House 1 
on August 7, 1783, and baptized at St. James's in 
September. The successor of two little delicate 
brothers who died shortly before her birth, she was 
the object of most careful and affectionate concern 
to all around her. 2 

One of the earliest, as also the brightest, glimpses 
we have of the subject of these pages is on her third 
birthday, the cynosure of all beholders, on the terrace 
at Windsor, where of a summer's evening the King 
delighted to promenade, accompanied by his fine 

1 Queen's House, originally Buckingham House, bought 
in 1761 from Sir Charles Sheffield by George III. All the 
King's children were born there except George IV. It was 
completely renovated by George IV in 1825 the present 
Buckingham Palace. 

2 Dictionary of National Biography. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

family, and surrounded by a crowd of courtiers. 
This became such a popular diversion that numbers 
of persons came from London to get a peep at the 
King and Queen. " It was really a mighty pretty 
procession," writes Miss Fanny Burney on this par- 
ticular occasion; "the little Princess, just turned 
three years old, in a robe-coat covered with fine 
muslin, a dressed close cap, white gloves and a fan, 
walked on alone and first, highly delighted in the 
parade, and turning from side to side to see every- 
body as she passed; for all the terracers stand up 
against the walls to make a clear passage for the 
Royal Family the moment they come in sight. Then 
followed the King and Queen, no less delighted 
themselves with the joy of their little darling. On 
sight of Mrs. Delany," proceeds Miss Burney, " the 
King instantly stopped to speak to her. The Queen, 
of course, and the little Princess and all the rest 
stood still in their ranks. . . . The little Princess went 
up to Mrs. Delany, of whom she is very fond, and 
behaved like a little angel to her." [" How do you 
do, Duchess of Portland's friend ! " she said to Mrs. 
Delany, the latter tells us in her own record of the 
scene.] " She then," continues Miss Burney, "with 
a look of inquiry and recollection, slowly of her own 
accord, came behind Mrs. Delany to look at me. 
' I'm afraid,' said I, ' your Royal Highness does not 

remember me.' What think you was her answer? 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

An arch little smile and nearer approach with her 
lips pouted out to kiss me. I could not resist so 
innocent an invitation, but the moment I had 
accepted, I was half afraid it might seem in so public 
a place an improper liberty. However, there was no 
help for it. She then took my fan, and, having 
looked at it on both sides gravely, returned it to me, 
saying, ' Oh ! a brown fan ! ' The King and Queen 
then bid her curtsey to Mrs. Delany, which she did 
most gracefully, and they all moved on." 

The child is said to have well understood the 
dignity of her position at this early age. " Her 
Royal Highness," reports the same chronicler during 
the same year, " does the honours of her rank with 
a seriousness extremely entertaining. She commands 
the company to sit down, holds out her little fat 
hand to be kissed, and makes a distant curtsey with 
an air of complacency and encouragement that might 
suit any princess of five times her age." Again : 
" She is a most lovely little thing just three years 
old, and full of sense and spirit and playful pretti- 
ness, yet decorous and dignified when called upon 
to appear en princesse to any strangers; as if con- 
scious of her high rank and of the importance of 
condescendingly sustaining it. 'Tis amazing what 
education can do in the earliest years to those of 
quick understanding. The little Princess thus in 
infancy, by practice and example taught her own 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

consequence, conducts herself upon all proper occa- 
sions with an air of dignity which is quite astonish- 
ing." After this one is glad to hear that she was 
sufficiently childlike to play at phaeton-driving with 
all the fun of a frisky horse, and to refuse to go to 
bed unless Miss Burney undressed her. Her nurse, 
Mrs. Cheveley, was not merely "rather handsome 
and of showy appearance," but was well suited to 
her post by her " exceeding good sense " ; while " her 
admirable management of the young Princess 
secured her affection without spoiling her." Mrs. 
Cheveley " always treats her with respect even when 
reproving her," adds Miss Burney, "yet gives way 
to none of her humours when it is better they should 
be conquered. Fewer humours, indeed, I never in 
any child saw, and I give the greatest credit to Mrs. 
Cheveley for forbearing to indulge them." 

The King idolized his youngest child, and 
delighted in contributing to her innocent pleasures, 
while she equally reciprocated his affection, fine 
earliest event which cast a shadow on her happiness 
was in October 1788, when she was five years old, 
her father being attacked by a bilious fever so it 
was called under the effects of which his mind 
became completely unhinged. The first symptoms 
of this temporary aberration are said to have been 
shown by his embracing his family in church; and 
at the levee the strangeness of his behaviour 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

attracted general notice. In the month of Novem- 
ber the King's malady was at its height, the 
madness continuing for many weeks, with occa- 
sional returns to reason. While the King and the 
Royal Family were residing at Kew, during a lucid 
interval in December Dr. Willis, 1 the King's mental 
superintendent, desired that Princess Amelia should 
be brought to her father, and she was accordingly 
taken to him. The sight of his darling daughter 
excited the King so violently that he swore that 
henceforth no one should separate them. It was 
not till the Queen arrived on the scene that the child 
could be got away from him. The terrible illness of 
her dear father, the distress of her mother and 
sisters, and the anxious demeanour of the attendants 
threw a heavy gloom over the life of the little girl 
at this time, and the melancholy visit to Kew did 
not tend to dispel it. The palace, with its low 
ceilings and dark passages, impressed the imagina- 
tion of a child of five, and the surroundings of 
Kew were far less attractive than they are 

1 The Rev. Francis Willis (born in 1717) gave up his duties 
as a clergyman to practise medicine, and founded an estab- 
lishment where he received insane persons of the highest 
rank. He exercised an extraordinary domination over his 
patients by the power of his look, which cowed them. After 
the complete (though temporary) recovery of George III, 
Dr. Willis attended the mad Queen of Portugal. He died 
in 1807, aged 90. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

The Royal Family was rendered the more un- 
happy by the conduct of the Prince of Wales, who, 
supported by the Opposition, eagerly hoped to be 
appointed Regent, if indeed he should not immedi- 
ately succeed to the throne on the death of the King, 
which was believed to be imminent. To the unspeak- 
able joy of the Queen, however, and the triumph of 
the Government under Pitt, the King completely 
recovered his reason early in the following year, 

Illuminations far and wide marked the joyful 
event, and the Queen and all but the youngest of 
the Princesses went to London from Kew to see the 
sight. The little Amelia was left behind with her 
father. Before leaving, the Queen gave private 
orders for a splendid illumination at home of the 
palace and courtyard, as a surprise for the King. 
When the transparencies were prepared and lighted 
the little Amelia led her papa to the front window, 
having first presented him with a copy of verses 
written by Miss Burney at the Queen's desire, which 
concluded with a postscript 

"The little bearer begs a kiss 
From dear papa, for bringing this." 

" I need not tell you," comments the composer of the 
verses, " the little bearer begged not in vain." 

The Thanksgiving Service for the King's recovery 
which' took place in St. Paul's Cathedral on April 23, 
c 33 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

1789, was the first public event in which Princess 
Amelia took part, when she followed in the proces- 
sion with the rest of the younger Princesses attended 
by Miss Gomme. 

Reference to Miss Gomme will be found later in 
these pages, where she figures years hence in the 
correspondence relating to the love-episode of her 
charge. She was one of the governesses to the Prin- 
cesses; Miss Goldsworthy (sister of Colonel Golds- 
worthy, one of the King's equerries), the beloved 
" Gooley " of the elder Princesses, being another ; 
and both these ladies remained in attendance at 
Court during the whole of Princess Amelia's 


The aged Lady Charlotte Finch, daughter of the 
Earl of Pomfret, and widow of the Right Honour- 
able William Finch 1 (brother of the Earl of Win- 
chelsea and Nottingham), held the post of Head 
Governess, her daughter Mrs. Feilding (afterwards 
Lady Sophia Feilding), being one of the Women of 
the Bedchamber. Lady Charlotte Finch had been 
brought up at Florence, had perfect manners, and 
a clear judgment which eminently fitted her for her 
position. Her royal pupils were all warmly attached 
to her, and the Queen consulted her in all matters 
concerning them. Miss Goldsworthy and Miss 

1 Privy Councillor, and sometime Envoy-Extraordinary to 
the Court of Sweden. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Gomme were under her, and perhaps somewhat less 
tactful in their management. 

During her early childhood the little Amelia is 
said to have been much under the superintendence 
of her mother, but as time went on the Queen saw 
less of her. The King's health, though greatly 
improved, gave occasional cause for anxiety, and the 
Queen, when advised by the King's doctors to 
devote more of her time to him, remarked, " Then I 
pity my three youngest daughters, whose education 
I can no longer attend to." The Princess Royal 
thereupon undertook to look after Amelia, until her 
marriage to the Prince of Wiirtemberg in 1797 
caused her to leave England when her youngest 
sister was barely fourteen. 

c 2 











AMELIA was now growing in beauty and intelli- 
gence, but her delicate health rendered much study 
undesirable for her, and she was in consequence kept 
less at her lessons than her elder sisters had been. 
It is perhaps for this reason that her letters in after 
years are often expressed without regard to 
grammar. Her sentences have not the literary pre- 
cision and polish which some of her sisters' letters 
certainly show. Nor is her spelling always faultless. 
But at fifteen she wrote graceful and natural letters 
in a formed, flowing handwriting indicative of usage 
du monde remarkable in so young a girl. She early 
showed considerable skill in music and painting, and 
the cultivation of these arts became her principal 
occupations. She loved to sing and to dance, and 
was full of fun and high spirits. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Of her personal appearance in 1798 Madame 
d'Arblay gives us a description : " Full as tall as 
Princess Royal and as much formed, she looks 
seventeen though only fourteen [she was fifteen 
on August 7], but has an innocence, an Hebe 
blush, an air of modest candour, and a gentleness so 
caressingly inviting of voice and manner that I have 
seldom seen a more captivating young creature." 

It is clear that this early development had over- 
taxed her constitution, and that she had outgrown 
her strength. Her physician, Sir Lucas Pepys, 
advised her to be much in the open air, and to ride. 
She is described later as " a great horsewoman." He 
also recommended her to go often to the seaside for 
hot sea baths. During the summer of 1798 she 
suffered from a weakness in her knee, for which she 
was attended by Doctor Keate, and was ill for a long 
time in spite of, or possibly in consequence of, fre- 
quent cupping and leeching prescribed by that gentle- 
man according to the habitual practice of the day. 

The following undated letter addressed to Lady 
Albinia Cumberland 1 (a lady-in-waiting to the Prin- 
cesses) and now in the possession of that lady's 
granddaughter, the Honourable Mrs. R. C. Boyle, 

1 Wife of Richard Cumberland, eldest son of the dramatic 
author and diplomatist, and daughter of George third Earl 
of Buckinghamshire by his wife Albinia the Countess of 
Buckinghamshire, who was notorious as one of "Faro's 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

was written by Princess Amelia during this illness 
and while she was sojourning at Worthing. 


" I cannot resist troubling you with one of my 
stupid scrawls to return you many thanks for your 
kind inquiries after me. Indeed, everybody is so 
good I know not what to say. Mr. Keate assures me 
I am a little better, &c., therefore I am certain that 
I am so; but I still continue to feel a good deal of 
pain. I am not as yet allowed to get off my couch. 
Since I saw you I have been cup'd. Yesterday I 
had on Leeches, &c., this evening I got into a Hot 
Sea Bath. I trust I shall find Great Benefit from this 
discipline soon. I must say I never saw anything so 
attentive as Mr. Keate. He as well as everybody else 
is so good to me that I am sure I shall never be able to 
thank them enough. How sorry I was to find by your 
letter to Gooly 1 yesterday that your dear Albinia 
had again been ill ! I hope she is now quite well. 
Pray give her my kind love as well as to all the rest 
of your children. I hope they are all well. I am 
glad Lady Charlotte 2 has got another little girl. 

1 Miss Goldsworthy, the worthy governess who so 
offended Princess Amelia in later years. 

2 Lady Charlotte Disbrowe, nie Hobart, daughter of the 
third Earl of Buckinghamshire, sister of Lady Albinia 
Cumberland and wife of Colonel Disbrowe, died after the 
birth of this little girl. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Have you seen or heard anything of Mr. Disburough 
[Disbrowe] or rather St. Peter, 1 for you know they 
are reckoned alike? I must tell you that when I 
sent this morning to the Bishop of Salisbury for a 
frank for you they brought me one to Lady Almeria 
Carpenter. 2 I was obliged to explain how shocked 

1 Colonel Disbrowe of Walton Hall, Derbyshire, M.P. 
for Windsor, Vice-Chamberlain to Queen Charlotte. Princess 
Sophia called him "the Father Confessor of the unfortunate 
sisterhood " hence doubtless his nickname of St. Peter. 
"He occupied," says his granddaughter Miss Disbrowe, 
"a highly responsible position at Court, the more so because 
the Queen was compelled to take a leading part in State 
affairs owing to the prolonged illness of King George III. I 
used to hear how when at Windsor he (the King) would arrive 
quite early in the morning at the house of my grandfather, 
who was also his equerry, to make the latter walk with him, 
and how finding him in bed, would tell his three sons to 
fetch a jug of water and give him a ' cold pig. ' I have a 
great number of letters written in an absolutely friendly 
style by Queen Charlotte to my grandfather as well as from 
the Princesses." Old Days in Diplomacy, by the eldest 
daughter of the late Sir Edward Cromwell Disbrowe, G.C.B., 
Ex.-H.M.-Plen., pp. 31, 32. 

2 Lady Almeria Carpenter, unmarried and eldest daughter 
of Carpenter first Earl of Tyrconnel, by the only daughter 
and heiress of Sir Robert Clifton of Clifton, Notts. Horace 
Walpole describes Lady Almeria as " Lady of the Bed- 
chamber to the Duchess of Gloucester, and Mistress to the 
Duke" (the Duke brother of George III; the Duchess 
widow of Earl Waldegrave and 1 natural daughter of Sir 
Edward Walpole). Oddly enough this was not the only 
time we find the name of the highly respected Lady Albinia 
Cumberland confounded with that of Lady Almeria Carpen- 
ter, the chere amie of the Duke of Gloucester. The whole 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

I was that he should think I had such a corre- 

"As I write to you to-day, Gooly [Miss Golds- 
worthy] will not trouble you till next week. Mama 
and my Sisters are gone a party of pleasure in the 
heat of the sun to dine with the Duke of York at 
his Office and see Papa go to the House. They hope 
to return between six and seven. Those two par- 
ticular Dear Creatures Miny and Sophy [Princesses 
Mary and Sophia] were both anxious to remain with 
me the former would not name the intention of 
going for fear she should be of the party and pre- 
vented staying. However, she is gone. She is more 

story is given by Lady Louisa Stuart in her letters to her 
friend Miss L. Clinton (second series, pp. 278-281). "In one 
of Radical's letters to the Times, Lady Albinia Cumberland 
was set down as having a pension for her former services to 
certain of the Princes ! Richard Cumberland wrote to [Colonel] 
J. Jones to demand a contradiction and apology for this 
scandalous attack on his mother's character, or else satis- 
faction. Jones refused both. Richard C. posted him as 
a coward, and then some others of the family taking it up 
Radical avowed 1 he had been misinformed and was sorry. 
And what do you think was meant? Why, the old story 
(too old for you to have heard) of the late Duke of Glou- 
cester and Lady Almeria Carpenter, who had no more to 
do with Lady A. Cumberland than with . . . and like 
several other people whose pensions Radical complains of 
has been dead and buried many years ! But it is all one to 
poor Lady Albinia, whom two-thirds of the kingdom will 
believe to have been some Prince's mistress in her youth, 
instead of the careworn wife, widow and mother we have 
known her from first to last." 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

amiable if possible than ever, and I am sure dear 
Papa and Mama and my sisters are all goodness. 
Thank God Dear Dear Sophy is well. She had last 
week another cramp. It annoyed me much as my 
leg prevented my seeing her. Don't shew my letter. 
I hope you will see a good deal of Mr. and Mrs. 
Peachey. 1 Have you heard from.Ly. Warren? 2 She 
is still at Plymouth? We have had good accounts 
of Royal. 3 She talks of her happiness as much as 
ever. Dear Ly. Cha 4 is here as well as Ly. C. 
Waldegrave 5 the latter leaves us on Monday. I 
like Ly. Ely 6 very much. She is all . . ." [Rest 
of letter missing.] 

The next letter addressed by Princess Amelia to 

1 The Hon. John Peachey succeeded his father as Lord 
Selsey in 1808. 

2 General FitzRoy's mother was a daughter of Sir Peter 

3 Princess Royal, married to the Prince of Wiirtemberg in 
the previous year, was expecting- her confinement. 

4 Lady Charlotte Finch. 

5 Lady Caroline Waldegrave, daughter of John third 
Earl Waldegrave, and niece of Maria Duchess of Gloucester 
(formerly Countess Waldegrave). 

6 Anne, daughter of Hugh Bonfoy, Esq., and widow 
of the Earl of Ely, who had died in 1783, is thus described 
by Lady Louisa Stuart in her MS. "Notes to Lady Francis 
Scott's Journal": "Lady Ely a particular friend of my 
sister Caroline (Countess of Portarlington). Her mother, 
Mrs. Bonfoy, who always lived with her, aimed at bel 
esprit, and was sometimes a little affected, but Lady Ely 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

; ' The Lady Albinia Cumberland," and endorsed by 
the latter "1798," was written at Worthing during 
the Princess's illness. News had been received 
from Germany of the accouchement of the Princess 
Royal, Princess of Wiirtemberg. 


" I am very anxious to know how you are 
to-day as well as Albinia. I flatter myself you will 
send me a good account and that your own face is 
either well or that Mr Spence will make it so by 
Drawing the tooth We have no account of the 
Birth of the little Sprouting Branch of the Wiirtem- 
berg family. 1 My kind love and a kiss to your 
children. Dear Miny [Princess Mary] and Gooly 
join in all I have said concerning your health, and 
beg their love, and Pray, my dear Ly. Albinia, 
" Believe me ever 

' Your affectionate Friend, 


11 Monday. I am sure you will be glad to hear 

totally the reverse." (Mrs. Bonfoy was whole sister to 
Mr. Eliot, made Lord Eliot by Mr. Pitt, and half-sister to 
Lord Abercorn, they having the same mother a daughter 
of Secretary Craggs. The son of this Earl of Ely's sister 
was created Earl and Marquis of Ely). See Gleanings from 
an old Portfolio, by Mrs. Clark of Talygarn. 

1 The only offspring of the marriage died soon after his 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Charlotte 1 has had a good night and the symptoms 
continue to be favorable." 

In November 1798 the Princess was still at 
Worthing for her health. Lady Albinia Cumberland 
was now in waiting. Her husband's brother as com- 
mander of a sloop of war kept guard at sea, and was 
in readiness to accompany her Royal Highness with 
his boats or vessels in any excursion on the water 
which she might be advised to take. His father 
Richard Cumberland the dramatist, paying a visit to 
his son at this time, thus alludes to the Princess in 
his Memoirs 

" I came to Worthing whilst he (my son) was there 
upon duty, and was permitted to pay my homage to 
the Princess. It was impossible to contemplate 
youth and beauty suffering tortures with such 
exemplary patience, and not experience the sensa- 
tion of respect and pity which such a contemplation 
naturally must inspire. When my daughter-in-law 
Lady Albinia Cumberland took her turn of duty as 
lady of the bedchamber I took the liberty through 
her hands to offer the few stanzas which are here 

We spare our reader the insertion here of the 

1 The Princess Royal, Princess of Wurtemberg. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

whole of the poet's fourteen stanzas, but extract the 
two following verses to show the warmth of sym- 
pathy which this amiable Princess inspired 

"How long, just heav'n, shall Britain's royal maid, 
With meek submission these sad hours sustain? 
How long shall innocence invoke thine aid, 
And youth and beauty press the couch of pain? 

Was ever suffering purity more meek? 
Was ever virgin martyr more resigned? 
Mark how the smile, yet gleaming on her cheek, 
Bespeaks her gentlest, best of human kind." 1 

A letter supposed to be written in Lady Albinia 
Cumberland's name to her little girl (Harriet), but 
in reality written in fun by Princess Amelia in print- 
ing characters easy for a child to read, bears this 
endorsement in Lady Albinia's handwriting 

"Nov. the 7th, 1798. 

" Printed and worded for me by my dear 
Princess Amelia. I was at the time holding her 
leg. A. C." 

The letter runs 


" I hope you are good and behave well and 
that Mrs. Gombe 2 is pleased with you. I love you 

1 Memoirs of Richard Cumberland, Vol. II. pp. 295-7. 

2 "Mrs. Gombe" is probably the Princess's governess at 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

very much and long to see your dear little face 
Give my kind compts. to Mrs. Gombe. Adieu, my 
dear child, 

" From your affec te 

" Mother and Friend, 


" Worthing, 

" Nov. 8/A, '98." 

A letter addressed to " Miss Cumberland," the 
elder daughter of Lady Albinia, although evidently 
written at a later date may be inserted here. 


" I send you the Black Velvet, and I only 
wish it may give you half as much pleasure to wear 
it as I feel in giving it to you. I am glad about your 
Cousin's marriage and I know you rejoice, but to 
hear of another Albinia's settling would give me 
more pleasure. I hope my little friend Harriet is 

Windsor, Miss Gomme, of whom more anon. During Lady 
Albinia's "waiting's" she left her daughters in lodgings at 
Windsor. She was afterwards granted apartments at 
Hampton Court Palace. She died in 1851, aged 91. Her 
elder daughter Albinia married! Alexander Gordon of Ellon 
Castle and was mother of the Honourable Mrs. R. C. Boyle, 
who kindly allows the publication of her grandmother's letters. 
The younger daughter, the above-mentioned Harriet, grew 
to be greatly admired for her beauty, but died unmarried at 
an early age in 1811. See Appendix I, p. 294. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

well. Give her my best love and to dear Ly. 
Albinia also. I am sorry to say I think Mr. Dis- 
browe very unwell and if he don't take care, he will 
be ill. He settles in town next week. 

" Ever yours very sincerely, 


" Windsor Castle, 

" Friday morning? 

On the conclusion of her sojourn at Worthing 
Princess Amelia proceeded to visit Sir Lucas Pepys 
and his wife Lady Rothes 1 at Juniper Hill, near 
Juniper Hall, the residence of the French emigres 
with which Madame d'Arblay has made her readers 
familiar. This lady, who as Miss Fanny Burney 
had retired from Court some years earlier and had 
since married, hearing that the young Princess was 
staying in the neighbourhood, went over one morn- 
ing to pay her respects to her Royal Highness, 
having first written to obtain permission from the 
Queen to do so. Madame d'Arblay found Lady 
Albinia Cumberland, Miss Planta, Miss Golds- 
worthy, Mrs. Cheveley, and Mr. Keate the surgeon 
all staying at Juniper Hill in attendance on the 
Princess. She thus describes her visit 

1 Jane Elizabeth, Countess of Rothes in her own right, 
married 1772 as her second husband Sir Lucas Pepys, 
M.D., who was created a baronet in 1784. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

" The Princess was seated on a sofa, in a French 
grey riding dress with pink lapels, her beautiful 
and richly flowing and shining fair locks unorna- 
mented. Her breakfast was still before her and 
Mrs. Cheveley in waiting. Lady Albinia announced 
me, and she (the Princess) received me with the 
brightest smile, calling me up to her and stopping 
my profound reverence by pouting out her sweet 
ruby lips for me to kiss. She desired me to come 
and sit by her ; but ashamed of so much indulgence, 
I seemed not to hear her, and drew a chair at a 
little distance. ' No, no ! ' she cried, nodding, 
* come here ; come and sit by me here, my dear 
Madame d'Arblay.' I then . . . seated myself on 
her sofa. Lady Albinia, whom she motioned to 
sit, took an opposite chair, and Mrs. Cheveley, after 
we had spoken a few words together, retired. Her 
attention was now bestowed upon my Alex, who 
required not so much solicitation to take his part on 
the sofa. He came jumping and skipping up to her 
Royal Highness, with such gay and merry antics 
that it was impossible not to be diverted with so 
sudden a change from his composed and quiet 
behaviour in the other room. He seemed enchanted 
to see her again, and I was only alarmed lest he 
should skip upon her poor knee in his caressing 
agility. I bid him, in vain, however, repeat Ariel's 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

' Come unto these yellow sands/ which he can say 
very prettily ; he began, and the Princess, who knew 
it, prompted him to go on. ... Lady Albinia soon 
after left the room, and the Princess then turning 
hastily and eagerly to me said, ' Now we are alone, 
do let me ask you one question, Madame d'Arblay. 
Are you are you (looking with strong expression 
to discover her answer) writing anything? ' I could 
not help laughing, but replied in the negative. 
' Upon your honour? ' she cried earnestly, and look- 
ing disappointed. This was too hard an interro- 
gatory for evasion, and I was forced to say the 
truth that I was about nothing I had yet fixed, if 
or not I should ever finish, but that I was rarely 
without some project. This seemed to satisfy and 
please her. I told her of my having seen the Duke 
of Clarence at Leatherhead fair. ' What, William ? ' 
she cried, surprised. This unaffected, natural way of 
naming her brothers and sisters is infinitely pleasing. 
. . . She took a miniature from her pocket and said, 
' I must show you Meney's picture/ meaning Prin- 
cess Mary whom she still calls ' Meney/ because it 
was the name she gave her when unable to pronounce 
Mary a time she knew I well remember. It was a 
very sweet miniature and extremely like. ' Ah, what 
happiness/ I cried, ' your Royal Highness will feel 
and give upon returning to their Majesties and their 

Royal Highnesses after such an absence and such 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

suffering ! ' ' Oh ! Yes, I shall be so glad/ . . . and 
then Lady Albinia came in and whispered it was 
time to admit Lady Rothes, who then entered with 
Lady Harriet 1 and the Miss Leslies. When she 
(the Princess) was removing, painfully lifted from 
her seat between Sir Lucas and Mr. Keate, she 
stopped to pay her compliments to Lady Rothes 
with a dignity and self-command extremely 

We hear again of serious illness in the following 
year, but in January 1800 the King writes to Bishop 
Hurd of Worcester 2 the good news that " Even 
dear Amelia is with gigantic steps, by the mercy of 
Divine Providence, arriving at perfect health." The 
King continues, " She was on the 24th of last month 
confirmed at her own request by the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, who seemed much pleased in the pre- 
paratory conversation he had with her at her being 
well grounded in our holy religion and [sic] the 
serious task she has taken upon herself." 

Princess Amelia was now seventeen and grown to 
the full perfection of womanhood. She was "tall 
and slender, and her air was most graceful and 

1 Lady Harriet, daughter of Sir Lucas Pepys and the 
Countess of Rothes, married the fourth Earl of Devon. 

2 Letter copied from Jesse's Memoirs of the Life and 
Reign of George III, Vol. III. p. 229. 

D 49 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

prepossessing." Although " dignified " and some- 
what " languid " in appearance she was bright and 
lively in manner and so gentle and sympathetic as 
to win every heart. Her love for her father was 
revealed in all her actions, and this indeed is said 
to have been the case to the end of her life. 








THE year 1801 was one which brought various 
and heavy troubles to the Royal Family. The most 
harassing of these was a " delicate domestic trouble," 
to quote the discreet words of Jesse, the historian, 
" on which there is no occasion to dwell." 

The King in this year suffered more than one 
relapse into his old illness of twelve years earlier, 
with similar attacks of mental aberration, which, 
however, did not last long. In the summer he was 
sufficiently well to pay his usual visit to Weymouth 
accompanied by his family. On his way he stayed 
at Cuffnells, the seat of the Right Honourable 
George Rose, which he visited again a few years 

The health of Princess Amelia caused some un- 
easiness during this autumn, and it was thought 
D 2 51 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

desirable that, instead of returning to Windsor with 
the King and the rest of the Royal Family on the 
conclusion of their visit to Weymouth, she should 
remain on there in charge of Miss Gomme. 

Miss Gomme had lived at Court for nearly twenty 
years, and before that had passed the greater part 
of her life in Prussia. She is described by Miss 
Burney in 1786 (that is, fifteen years before the date 
at which our chronicle has arrived) as " very sensible, 
and, I fancy, well informed; but her manner not 
pleasing to strangers, and her conversation, perhaps 
from great inequality of spirits, has no flow 
nothing gliding it is either a torrent or it is lost 
and stagnant, like the poor little round old- 
fashioned garden pond." 1 

But Miss Gomme was not the young Princess's 
only companion at Weymouth. There was another 
far more fascinating, and of the other sex, General 
FitzRoy, one of the King's equerries, appointed by 
the King to attend the Princess on her daily rides. 

General the Honourable Charles FitzRoy, 2 
second son of the first Lord Southampton and 
nephew of the third Duke of Grafton, was born in 
1762. He was therefore twenty years older than 
Princess Amelia, and about thirty-eight years of 

1 Diary of Madame d'Arblay, Vol. II. p. 240. 

2 Colonel of the 25th Regiment, the King's Own Bor- 
derers, and Deputy Ranger of the royal forest of Whittle- 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

age at the time when their attachment began. He 
may on that account have been supposed to be a safe 
and suitable escort for a young girl. But extremely 
handsome, with the charm of manner characteristic 
of the FitzRoys, and appearing much under his 
age, while he was at the same time in advance 
of the younger men in experience and savoir faire, 
he is said to have been among the most admired in 
the royal entourage. The King himself liked him 
to be constantly about his person, even putting him, 
whenever possible, before his own sons; for which 
reason the courtiers nicknamed FitzRoy " Prince 
Charles." He does not seem, however, to have 
taken undue advantage of his prominent position, 
but to have been of a modest and unassuming dis- 
position. Although of royal origin, through his 
paternal descent from Charles II, this being on the 
left side he could unfortunately never aspire to 
marriage on equal terms with the King's daughter; 
though she could romantically count him as the off- 
spring of kings and claim him as her own kinsman. 
They had, in fact, a common ancestor in James I. 

FitzRoy had been early associated with Courts. 
We have glimpses of him at the age of twenty-three 
travelling in Germany in the military service of the 
King of England. At Berlin he attracted the notice 
of Frederick the Great. It is said that the atten- 
tions of the veteran monarch to the handsome youth 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

were especially marked. A quaintly-worded note 
in King Frederick's diminutive handwriting giving 
FitzRoy permission to attend the manoeuvres at 
Magdeburg is still preserved. 1 It runs 

" M. FITZROY. II dependra entierement de vous 
d'assister aux manoeuvres de Magdeburg. Je vous 
le permets sur ce Dieu qu'il vous ait, M. Fitzroy, 
en sa sainte et digne garde. Potsdam, 3 Octobre 

"Au Capitaine Fitzroy au service de S.M.B. a 

A few months later we find him at Brunswick in 
high favour with the good-humoured Duchess of 
Brunswick, sister of George III and mother of the 
Princess Caroline who afterwards became Princess 
of Wales. 

The Duchess of Brunswick wrote to her friend the 
Duchess of Argyll in a letter recently published 2 

" I wish you would tell Lord and Lady Southamp- 
ton that Mr. Fitzroye behaves quite well now, that he 
was, for the Queen's birthday, at Hanover with 
General Rudesl where he never left the General 

1 In Mrs. Lowther's autograph book at Campsea Ashe. 

2 Letter of Augustus Duchess of Brunswick to Elizabeth 
Duchess of Hamilton and Argyll, dated " Brunswic 31 
Janv- 1786." Intimate Letters of the Eighteenth Century, 
Vol. I. p. 256. Edited by the Duke of Argyll. 1910. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

a moment, except at the Court ball which lasted till 
three o'clock in the morning. Tell him [Lord 
Southampton] we all love his son for his good 
affectionate heart, and his attachment to his 

His " good affectionate heart/' which the Duchess 
of Brunswick thus discerningly notes, was indeed 
characteristic of Charles FitzRoy throughout his 
career in every relation of life, and conspicuously 
so in his association with the young Princess who 
fell in love with him. 

It may be added that his nature was unselfish, 
generous, faithful. But while emphasizing the 
good qualities of his heart, we do not feel equally 
confident as to the qualities of his head. Mrs 
Villiers certainly gives the impression later on that 
it could be turned by the flatteries of the Prince of 

We have left him in attendance on Princess 
Amelia at Weymouth. As riding was especially 
ordered for the Princess's health, she had daily 
opportunity of being in General FitzRoy's com- 
pany. Thus an ardent attachment sprang up 
between them, if indeed it had not existed long 
before. From a statement of the Princess years 
hence it would even appear that she had loved 
Charles FitzRoy since she was sixteen. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Poor child ! Imbued with the romantic notions 
of her friend Miss Burney's heroines, how delight- 
ful was it for her King's daughter though she was 
to have a devoted lover like any Evelina or 
Cecilia ! Little did she dream in those early happy 
days of the years of bitter disappointment and 
suffering ahead. 






AFTER the return to Windsor from Weymouth the 
keen eye of Miss Gomme could not but observe that 
her charge and the equerry were on terms of in- 
timacy. Matters went on as usual. FitzRoy, in 
attendance on the King, rode daily with the royal 
party. It was remarked that Princess Amelia in 
riding would drop behind nearer to the equerry than 
to the King. In the evening at cards he was always 
Princess Amelia's partner. Months passed a 
year and Miss Gomme could no longer keep 
things to herself. It may have been that all this 
time from depression of spirits she had remained in 
the phase of " stagnation " to which Miss Burney 
has alluded. At all events the governess's " torrent," 
so long pent up to continue Miss Burney's meta- 
phor now burst forth, not only in warnings to 
Princess Amelia, but also in confidences to Princess 
Mary. Princess Mary confided in Miss Golds- 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

worthy, and to confide in Miss Goldsworthy was to 
tell all the world, for Miss Goldsworthy was as 
deaf as a post. :< There is no talking with her," 
said Miss Burney a few years earlier, " but by talk- 
ing for a whole house to hear every word." Thus, 
although it was agreed that the other Princesses 
should not be made parties to the gossip, they 
already knew everything. Recriminations followed 
on the part of poor Amelia towards Miss Gomme, 
who finally in May 1803 determined to call the 
Queen's attention to the affair. Amelia, discover- 
ing this, wrote in her agitation to her mother com- 
plaining that she had been unfairly treated not only 
by Miss Gomme, but also by her sister Mary and 
Miss Goldsworthy. The Queen, who could not 
endure that the apparent serenity of the domestic 
surroundings should be disturbed, seems to have 
behaved with discreet impartiality towards all con- 
cerned. While upholding the governess's attitude, 
she did not blame Amelia; and evidently had in- 
tended to let the matter drop altogether without 
mentioning it to Amelia, had not Amelia's writing 
to her rendered a reply necessary. She accordingly 
wrote to her daughter the following letter, 1 inculcat- 
ing prudence and charity, and calculated to cast oil 
on troubled waters all around. 

1 In the possession of the late Honourable Mrs. W. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

It is endorsed in the handwriting of Princess 
Amelia, "From Mama Sunday May ist 1803. 
Windsor." It will be understood that mother and 
daughter, though living under the same roof, did 
not allude to the subject of their correspondence 
when they met during the day. 


" I have received Your long letter and put 
off answering it till the Morning, least you should 
suspect that in my differing with You upon some 
of the Subjects you mention, that it was disappro- 
bation and not mature reflection which makes me 
do so To come to the Point directly I will begin 
with Miss Gum's [Gomme] and Your Sister Mary's 
conduct. The first being put about all of You as 
a Trusty Person to direct and instruct you, is by 
Her Situation bound in Honour to put you upon 
your Guard, if she knows of anything that could 
be likely to injure you, and as she has seen much 
of the World knows by experience that the Higher 
the Rank in Life, the more will the world expose 
them, because the World expects more circumspec- 
tion in their Conduct. She spoke to you only and 
there left it. Perhaps Her truely affectionate Heart 
towards You might make Her see it in a stronger 
light than You are aware of, but the motif did Her 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Honour, as it was meant to make You sensible of 
the Necessity to watch every step in Your Conduct. 
When she spoke to me she made no complaints 
against You, but mentioned it as a thing that had 
passed, and that She, in Her Situation about you, 
and Her Duty towards me, thought right for me to 
know. I thanked Her for it, and asked if anybody 
else knew about it and she said Mary. I went to 
your Sister who told me that She Herself had 
named it to you long before Miss Gumm had named 
it to Her; and when that happened she did not 
deny to Her having talked it over with Her, She 
also informed me of Miss Goldsworthy's knowing 
it, and that she was determined not to talk to you 
upon the Subject, which was also a proof of Her 
delicacy towards You, as it is clear that she was 
persuaded Your good Sense would not require 
more than one Person to represent to you what was 
right or wrong. The delicacy Your Sister Mary 
showed upon this occasion was so very Amiable 
that I concluded it would have gained your Con- 
fidence, for she assured me that not one of Your 
other Sisters knew of it and that nothing upon 
Earth should make Her name it. Moreover when 
You were Confined with those Boils, and could not 
go to Windsor, She offered of Her own account to 
stay with you, as she was sure You would feel 

uneasy to be left alone with those Ladies. That 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Circumstance is sufficient to show that she con- 
sidered your Situation, and [was] more ready to 
conciliate things than to make them of worth, by 
repeating backwards and forwards what passed 
of which I know her to be incapable; for Her 
Religious and mild disposition makes Her see 
everything with a most enviable Calmness. You 
will my dear Amelia be sensible that neither by 
words or by looks did I through the whole Winter 
shew You any disapprobation. In the beginning 
of Our Settling in Town I was ignorant of what 
had passed; and when I knew it I took no Notice 
of it, being sure that Miss Gum's advice being well 
considered must upon any Person which professes 
Religious Principles have taken every Necessary 
effect, particularly as You want neither Sense nor 
Penetration, and consequently must feel that She 
was a Friend to You You were struck with what 
I said about your riding near the King, and not to 
keep behind. This, my dear Amelia might with 
reason strike you, having this affair in your Head, 
but you are wrong in your supposition, I had my- 
self made this observation several times last year 
when I went out with You and the King, and named 
it to those ladies who were in the Carriage with 
me with disapprobation, and should have named it 
to Lady Matilda [Wynyard] 1 had she been your 

1 See page 91. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

lady. You see by that how dangerous it is to 

" Now for the request you make about not having 
any more to do with those Ladies [Gomme and 
Goldsworthy]. I am sure my dear Amelia You 
wrote this in a hurry, for you must upon recollection 
be sensible that two People so long attached to Our 
Families, and who to my Knowledge, as well as to 
that of the World, have done their Duty to the 
utmost to all of you, demand not only Yours but 
my gratitude, and that by my granting this request 
/ must disgrace myself, and expose Your Character, 
for, tell me, is that any reason that you are offended 
because the one spoke to You to be Prudent and 
the others knew [sic] of it. Consider this well, and 
I am convinced You will see that such a request 
would be wrong to Yourself. I am sorry that the 
request about not riding must also meet with a 
refusal. That must be done for your Health, and 
as there can be no enjoyment without Health, it is 
our Duty to God to do all in our Power to obtain 
it. As to say anything upon that subject to the 
King would expose you more than anything, 
Make Him (/ mean the King) unhappy, and make 
Our Home very unhappy, and as there is sufficient 
distress to be found out of doors there can be no 
good reason to be given why it should be unneces- 
sarily increased within doors. As to what relates 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

to Your Friendship with Lady Dungannon [She was 
General FitzRoy's sister] I cannot see why that 
acquaintance should be broke off. It is at best but 
an acquaintance, and there is a great difference 
between real Friendship and a common acquaint- 

" You say You have spoken to Your Sisters upon 
the subject. I am so far sorry for it, particularly 
so as Your sister Mary and I settled it that neither 
of us would mention it to them, and I know she has 
kept Her word, but what is done is done, and it is 
better to forget it. 

"And now my dear Amelia I think I have an- 
swered every part of Your Letter. There remains 
only to assure You that I am not angry with You, 
nor was so when you suspected it. You were 
offended with Miss Gumm. That led you to sus- 
pect. You distrust Mary because she lives well 
with those ladies, and You make Yourself Miserable 
and hurt Your Health. In a Moral as well as a 
Religious light that is wrong, Scripture, says ' A 
Wise Man bears with a Fool* and a Good Man 
bears up under Distress, nay, even bears injury with 
Patience; and I pray to God that you may become 
both wise and good. I beseech you let no offence 
whatever lead you to Judge hastily of a Fellow 
Creature; be always watchful! of yourself in every 
Step you take; beware of Flatterers choice of your 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Friends, and do not destroy your Health and 
Happiness by fancying things worse than they are, 
and by your following this advice You not only 
prove Your affection to me, but insure to you the 
warmest Love from 

' Your affectionate Mother and Friend, 


Queen Charlotte's characteristic caution is shown 
by her writing the following letter on the next 


" I leave these few lines for you to desire 
you will promise me upon your Honour neither 
directly or indirectly to name a word of this unpleas- 
ant business to your Brothers, nay not even to the 
Duke of Kent, nor to any of those ladies you are 
intimate with, nor indeed to any soul living. I 
give you this Precaution for your own Peace of 
Mind. Let it from this moment be eternally buried 
in oblivion, and be assured that not those even who 
love you can so effectually restore you calmness 
of spirit and body as you can yourself. Neither 
myself no [sic] Minny [Princess Mary] will ever 
mention it again, and I am almost sure that neither 
Miss Gumm [Gomme] nor Gooly [Goldsworthy] 
will ever any more hint at it. if you will but be civil 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

to them when you meet. That is due from one to 
another. ,There is no necessity to make Professions 
of Love and Friendship where it is not felt, but the 
rules of society demand civility as every uncivil 
behaviour unprovoked injures not those it is meant 
for, but falls back upon ourselves. Having said 
this I beseech you by all that is sacred to endeavour 
as much as possible, to divest yourself of all anger 
and suspicion as it is injurious to your Health. 
You owe it to yourself and to your family. And 
lastly of all it is a Religious Duty to take care of 
one's Health and to overcome Evil with Good. 
You will have time now to think this over, and I 
hope at my return to find you in better Health and 
Spirits which will prove a real comfort to your 
affectionate Mother and Friend. 


"Q.L. Windsor, 

"the 2nd May 1803." 

Amelia's reply to her mother's letters, albeit 
dutiful and affectionate in expression, is of the 
briefest least said is soonest mended. But it is 
evident that she was not dissatisfied with the tone 
of her mother's letter, in which there was no allusion 
to General FitzRoy. She made the following copy 
of her answer to her mother and sent it to General 
FitzRoy with her mother's letters 

E 65 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 


"Allow me to express my gratefull thanks 
for your letter, and to assure you my Study and 
k Wish, is ever to be deserving of Your Approbation 
and Affection. 

"I am my dear Mama, 

' Your dutiful and affectionate Daughter, 


"May yd 1803, 
" Windsor? 

She wrote at the same time to her sister Mary 

"Copy of answer to Minny. May 3rd 1803. 


" I cannot for a moment delay answering 
the letter I received from you through Chi Chi. The 
affectionate impressions it contains I beg you to be 
convinced are most acceptable to me for you know 
how much I have ever loVed you dear Minny. I 
own I have of late suffered more than words can 
express, and that you may never experience the 
same is my most ardent wish. I never can alter 
my opinion of both Gooly's [Goldsworthy] and Miss 
Gomms conduct on this subject, though I will hope 
they meant for the best, but I cannot but say / am 
no longer a child and though ready to take advice 
yet I cannot put up with underhand treatment and 

submit to Government at my age, for with an 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

appearance of affection, had not Mama been the 
kindest of Mothers, they might have ruined me for 
ever with her. But so far I have to thank them, as 
Mama's conduct has been such as to endear her 
more to me than ever, and my whole study will be 
not to forfeit her goodness. I shall ever pray for 
your health and happiness, my dear Sister, and I 
rejoice to think you live comfortably with those 
ladies, as by experience I know how unpleasant it 
is to be otherwise. I shall ever be civil to them 
and never do anything I hope which I can blame 
myself for afterwards, but I am sure you cannot 
wonder at my saying after this I can feel no 
pleasure in their Society or ever trust them again. 
After all you say I cannot suppose you capable of 
having repeated to them, but it was natural for me 
to think it; as both of them gave me to understand 
that you knew everything they did, and thought the 
same as they did. 

" I shall write to you again to-morrow, and trusi 
my accounts will be good of Sophia. Battiscomb 
finds her pulse mended since morning. 

" Believe me ever dearest Minny, 

"Your affectionate friend, 



6 7 



IF we examine these letters of the Queen by the 
light of her future attitude with regard to Amelia's 
love episode, we shall find underlying the kindly and 
religious tone of them, extreme caution caution 
somewhat of a crafty, temporizing, and certainly not 
of a very far-seeing kind. 

Completely passing over her daughter's attach- 
ment to the King's equerry, the Queen's chief care 
is, by conciliating the governesses and making peace 
between the sisters, to avoid an esclandre and keep 
all knowledge of the matter from the King. On 
no account is Amelia to confide her grievances to 
her father; papa's darling had evidently threatened 
to tell papa. Her rides with the King, attended 
by General FitzRoy, are by all means to be con- 
tinued, lest the King's suspicions should be aroused. 
And he is not to be worried. He had enough 
troubles " out of doors " the intrigues of his sons 
and the plots to overthrow the Government, the 
insolence of Napoleon to the English Ambassador 

at Paris, and the imminent prospect of renewed war, 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

the preparations for the expected invasion of Eng- 
land, Hanover lost, and Ireland in a state of rebel- 
lion these were some of the distresses "out of 
doors" in the spring and summer of 1803. And 
indoors there were skeletons in the cupboards to be 
hidden as much as possible from the King's know- 
ledge, while the Queen's one thought was to preserve 
him from anything calculated to excite his brain. 

George III with all his solid and very consider- 
able abilities was not gifted with keen observation 
in domestic matters. Even before his physical 
blindness came upon him, things could go on under 
his eyes without his perceiving them. It is true that 
when matters of a painful nature came to his know- 
ledge, he could conduct himself (as we have already 
indicated when comparing him in this respect to 
Charlemagne), not only with reserve, but with 
remarkable dignity of mind, completely ignoring 
before the world what he must have been secretly 
aware that it knew. Still as his mental balance 
became unhinged and his sense of perspective dis- 
ordered, he gave undue prominence to trifles while 
real evils assumed an aspect of less importance, and 
it was thus impossible to predict how, so to speak, 
he might "take things." Hence the Queen's 
anxiety to keep him in ignorance of much that went 
on. For on the King's well-being, physical and 
mental, depended everything that she valued most. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

As to the Queen's own attitude with regard to 
Amelia's love affair, it may be observed that in the 
case of the youngest member of a large family the 
most strict parents will relax the iron rules which 
they have for years enforced in the case of their 
elder children it may be from sheer weariness, or 
it may be that they have learnt from bitter experi- 
ence the futility of coercion. 

Be this as it may, it is clear from the Queen's 
letters and this should be borne in mind in regard 
to the future conduct of Amelia as evidence in her 
favour that the Queen's eyes had thus early been 
fully opened to the mutual attraction which existed 
between her youngest daughter and General Fitz- 
Roy. Yet a little mild advice, a few platitudes 
and a text or two from Scripture this is all that 
the reprimand amounts to all the notice that is 
taken ; and the state of things is henceforth allowed 
to continue without further protest from the Queen. 
The constant opportunities for meeting, the daily 
rides, the private correspondence, the loving glances 
in church, the games of cards in the evenings we 
shall see that General FitzRoy was frequently, and 
indeed with intention, the Princess Amelia's partner 
at the card games which were part of every evening's 
routine in the royal circle all is tacitly permitted. 
And this "day out, day in" and year after year! 

Surely the Queen was well aware of the innocent 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

attachment, and either pitied it and, as time went on, 
even thought that some day however distant a 
marriage might be possible, or else was indifferent 
and, we may add, heartlessly indifferent. 

However, at this stage of affairs the Queen's 
attitude was, in Amelia's eyes, that of the "kindest 
of mothers " ; but that any real intimacy of thought 
or feeling should exist between mother and daughter 
was perhaps not to be expected in an atmosphere of 
such rigid etiquette that, as Miss Burney asserts, 
even the princesses could not speak to the Queen 
without being first addressed by her. Doubtless at 
a tete-a-tete the rule would be set aside; neverthe- 
less this state of things could not have conduced to 
an easy and open approach of child to parent, while 
the golden virtue of silence would flourish in this 
august family to the extinction of candour and 

Thus a secret understanding sprang up between 
the lovers, and by the autumn of this year, if not 
long before, they had sworn eternal devotion to each 



SINCE the first fatal letter had passed between the 
lovers by the connivance, as will appear, of the 
Princess Elizabeth innumerable billets doux, long 
destroyed, had perhaps been exchanged before the 
following was written. But of the letters of 
Princess Amelia to General FitzRoy preserved 
among his papers we may place it first on the list. 
It does not appear to belong to the later years 


" I don't know why, but I felt so full that I 
was quite distressed at speaking to you in the . . . 
[illegible]. How cruel we did not play together 
[at cards]. I always tell you honestly my opinion'; 
therefore don't be angry, but tell me the truth. I 
thought your manner to me still as if you had 
doubts about me. That dear smile to-day gave me 
such pleasure, but I think something I did annoyed 
you to-night. As I always tell you the truth, I own 
I was vexed and hurt at your manner when Mary 

came up, and I found you were out, whether from 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

annoyance I don't know; and fry coming up again 
I thought I was *de trap. I tell you Honestly how 
jealous I am you don't know ! and I dread your 
hating me. I hope I shall He able to give you this, 
walking to-day at Frogmore. My own dear love 
I am sure you love me as well as ever. If you can 
give me a kind look or word to-night pray do, and 
look for me to-morrow morning riding, don't leave 
me, do let us be, if we can, in comfort, but tell me 
your mind, and the truth. Don't send anything 
over to me till this evening, you dear Angel. I 
go to chapel to-morrow now do sit where I may 
see you, not as you did last Sunday morning. 
c Good God, what I then suffered.' Do have your 
dear Kair cut and keep it for me. Promise, after 
you go to town for the Meeting of Parliament, you 
will sit for me for I long for my picture. I want 
to talk to you, for you are not well. I see you 
change colour very often. Don't trifle with my 
happiness, which you do by not attending to your 
health, as all my happiness and comfort depends on 
my own dear darling. Did not you think it cruel 
not playing with me last night ? I hope that dread- 
ful man was not with you, for I am sure he gerte 
you. Did you tell P.W. [Prince of Wales] how 
wretched we both are? I hoped yesterday, at 
latest last night, I should have heard from you. I 
dare say you had not time, and, as you wrote that 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

precious note before you went, I ought to have been 
satisfied, but that I never am, separate from you, 
dear Angel. 

" I have had a very satisfactory letter this morn- 
ing [from the Prince of Wales]. He saw Edward 
[the Duke of Kent], had a long conversation with 
him, and told him strongly how necessary it is to 
sooth both you and the Q. [Queen] All which E. 
agreed to; and only conceive! after all he has 
said that he related the conversation he had had 
with the Q. about the riding ! 1 and blamed her in 
the warmest terms for objecting to it! He [the 
Prince of Wales] says he will certainly come on 
Thursday and will talk it all out with the Q. and 
E. [Queen and Edward] and make them sensible 
of all you wish : that to-morrow you shall hear from 
him. Now, God bless you ! and do try and sleep 
and remember you have friends who will support 
you to their utmost- 
Out of this large and not very united family of 
brothers and sisters, the Prince of Wales seems to 
have been a special favourite with his youngest 
sister indeed all his female relatives appear to 
have entertained an admiration for this dashing 

1 She means about her own riding with General FitzRoy. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

and dissipated personage, whom, in fact, they did 
not very often see. 

On his part he wrote to Amelia in the most gush- 
ingly affectionate style, and he appears to have 
shown her sympathy and kindness kindness of a 
superficial character, in accordance with his selfish 
disposition; and how little his affection was really 
worth we may gather from his conduct after his 
sister's death. 

Frederick, the Duke of York, was, as we shall 
see, another favourite and confidant, and this genial 
and easy-going elder brother seems to have patron- 
ized her and taken her part. 

Her brothers William and Augustus, the Dukes 
of Clarence and Sussex, were both devotedly at- 
tached to their youngest sister; but in the earlier 
years of our history they were much absent from the 
family circle. Their own respective love-affairs 
and connections had not a little to do with their 
absence. Later we find the most affectionate and 
confiding terms existing between Augustus and 

The attitude of Edward, the Duke of Kent, 
in regard to his sister's love-affair is obscure, 
but it seems to have been uncertain and contra- 

Ernest, the Duke of Cumberland, habitually 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

coarse, was disagreeable to his sister Amelia, as 
indeed he was in general to most people. 1 

The name of the youngest brother, Adolphus, the 
Duke of Cambridge, does not figure in his sister 
Amelia's affairs until the' close of her life. 

Of the sisters, the eldest at home, Augusta, lively 
and sympathetic as to affairs of the heart, was always 
a cordial friend to her "little sister" fifteen years 
younger than herself. 

Not so Elizabeth, who, however (certainly in the 
first instance), actively encouraged her sister's in- 
timacy with FitzRoy; but she was rough and bad- 
tempered, though not ill-natured, and her unrefined 
taunts and jokes caused her sensitive sister acute 
distress. In the family squabbles she sided with 
Ernest, her favourite brother. 

As to Mary, 2 the harmless nature of Amelia's pre- 
tended jealousy of her, expressed in the above letter, 
is obvious; but allusions to her elsewhere in the 
letters do not suggest any strong partiality towards 

1 It should be added that the later life of the Duke of 
Cumberland as King of Hanover, where he was greatly 
admired by his subjects, presented a happy contrast to his 
youthful career in England. 

2 In our Appendix I (p. 296) a graphic account of the 
wedding of Princess Mary with her cousin the Duke of 
Gloucester (which took place many years after the death of 
Princess Amelia) is to be found in an interesting contem- 
porary letter written by Lady Albinia Cumberland, who was 
one of the guests on the occasion. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

her on the part of Amelia such indeed as the 
public, after Amelia's death, was led to suppose 
had existed. " Mama's tool," Amelia calls her, and 
by her obedience and discretion she was well-suited 
to the part. Mary was the most circumspect of all 
the sisters. If not dull, she was certainly the least 
quick-witted of the female portion of the family. 
She was of a religious disposition, and possessed 
a senitive conscience. She always wished to be 
kind, and in later years she nursed Amelia with 
untiring devotion when she became an invalid, 
and was her constant attendant in her final 



1803 (continued) 1804 



DURING the summer and autumn of 1803 Amelia 
was seriously ill. Pining and worry were sapping 
her strength. The Queen had truly said, " Fancy- 
ing things are worse than they are, destroys health 
and happiness." But things at best were not hope- 
ful. In November Princess Augusta wrote to Lady 
Harcourt (in a letter published among the Harcourt 
Papers] : "I assure you I am under the greatest 
apxiety about poor dear Amelia, who has had a long 
and dreadfui illness. She is a sweet, amiable, 
pious, good little Soul, patient beyond all descrip- 
tion, and has the greatest resolution and fortitude. 
She is a perfect example. I really am benefited by 
her goodness. I never saw so good a disposition, 
so thoughtful and considerate to those about her, 
so afraid to fatigue them by their sitting up with 
her. I never saw anybody more careful to disguise 
her sufferings for fear of vexing others, and truly 
it is most vexing to see her so long in such a sad 
state of health." 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Naturally of a lively and buoyant disposition, she 
nevertheless turned her thoughts to serious things. 
,The prospect of death was constantly before her, 
and she wished to make preparations for it. It 
was during this illness which she thought might 
terminate fatally, that she wrote the following 
hastily expressed memorandum addressed to her 
affianced husband, who, it will be understood, having 
been appointed by the King to attend the Princess, 
was in a position to superintend her affairs and to 
carry out her orders. It is the first of a series of 
similar directions, preserved among his papers, 1 
which were written by the Princess at intervals 
during many years 

" It is my last dying and only wish that to you, 
my beloved Charles Fitzroy, my best friend and 
everything, and who nothing but my unfortunate 
situation parts me from as I feel assuredly I am 
the chosen of your heart as you are of mine I leave 
you everything I have, and request you to look over 
everything, and that all these treasures I wear, and 
you know how valuable they are to me ... [illegible] 
should be buried with me. Lose no time in execut- 
ing these my wishes. 


" Queen's House > 
" 1803." 

1 The late Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

By the end of the year she was on the way to 
recovery from this illness, as we learn from a letter 
she wrote to Lady Harcourt on New Year's Day 
1804. It is here copied from the Harcourt 
Papers 1 as showing her desire to express gratitude 
and affection towards her relations for their kind- 
ness to her during her recent illness. Their conduct 
at this time contrasts favourably with that of at least 
some of them in later years, who did not always 
behave with the most tender and sympathetic con- 
sideration to this sensitive plant. 

" Queerfs House, 

" Windsor, 
" ist January, 1804. 


" You will rejoice to hear Papa and Mamma 
are well. As to myself I certainly proceed towards 
my recovery slowly and surely; which is I hope 
more likely to be lasting than if it took place rapidly. 
The kindness I experience is very great deeply 
felt but not easily expressed. Indeed, my dear 
Lady Harcourt, volumes would not contain all I 
feel; and when I had used all the words that the 
English language contains to express gratitude and 
affection, it would neither do justice to my feelings 
nor satisfy them. God knows my heart is gratefully 
devoted to my family, I possess the greatest of 

i Vol. VI. P . 286. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

blessings kind parents and sisters. But where one 
feels most it makes one silent and the generality of 
mankind will think me a brute I know. Allow me 
to wish you and Lord Harcourt the usual compli- 
ments of the season a happy return of the New 
Year, and I must add I hope this time next year 
we shall find this Country has happily weathered 
the storm which threatens it. 

" I am a little superstitious. .The sun shone this 
morning a good omen; and particularly as it now 
seldom happens. Our dear King who is our Sheet 
Anchor, and whom we look up to next to Heaven 
is well. If he is preserved to us I think we must 
do well. Providence has never forsaken him, and 
I hope I don't presume too much in putting my 
firm trust in Him and relying on Him not to with- 
draw in the hour of apparent need, that protection 
our dear good father has so wonderfully experienced 
on many occasions. Adieu, Believe me my dear 
Lady Harcourt with kind remembrances to Lord 

Yours very sincerely, 









THE health of the King had shown no signs of fail- 
ing since 1801, but early in 1804 barely a fortnight 
after Amelia's good report he was again seized 
with illness and a temporary return of his mental 
malady. Meanwhile there was the same flutter 
among the adherents of the Prince of Wales as on 
former occasions, but their hopes were again dashed 
by the King's recovering his reason sufficiently to 
be able to transact business. Exaggerated reports 
of his condition were circulated by persons occupy- 
ing houses in Grosvenor Place overlooking the 
Gardens of Buckingham House, who professed to 
have spied the King walking in the Gardens in a 

state of uncontrolled frenzy. Still the King's 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

mental state was far from satisfactory during the 
ensuing months, and about this time a change came 
over his temper, which had hitherto been remark- 
able for its amiable and benign disposition. 

"It was remarked," says J. H. Jesse, 1 "as a 
peculiar feature of the King's disorder [at this time] 
that though his language was often incoherent, and 
though he frequently showed himself harsh and 
suspicious in the presence of those who were 
domesticated with him, yet when conversing with 
persons whom he had reason to regard with defer- 
ence or respect, he rarely if ever betrayed any sign 
of mental derangement. For instance at a Privy 
Council, over which he presided on May 24, his 
manner and language would seem to have been all 
propriety and composure; and yet at this very time 
his intellects were evidently in a very disordered 
state." " Lady Uxbridge," wrote Lord Malmes- 
bury 2 two days afterwards, "said his family were 
quite unhappy; that his temper was altered. He 
had just dismissed his faithful and favourite page, 
Braun, who had served him during his illness with 
the greatest attention. Quiet and repose were the 
only chance. . ." "The King," said Mrs. Har- 
court, "had made capricious changes everywhere, 

1 Memoirs of George 111, Vol. III. p. 375. 

2 Malmesbury's Diaries, Vol. IV. p. 318. 

V 2 83 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

from the Lord Chamberlain to the grooms and 
footmen. He turned away the Queen's favourite 
coachman, made footmen grooms, and vice versa; 
and what was still worse, because more notorious, 
had removed lords of the bedchamber without a 
shadow of reason. That all this afflicted the Royal 
Family beyond measure. The Queen was ill and 
cross; the Princesses low, depressed, and quite sink- 
ing under it ; and that unless means could be formed 
to place some very strong-minded and temperate 
person about the King he would either commit some 
extravagance or he would, by violent exercise and 
carelessness, injure his health and bring on a deadly 
illness." l 

It was at this juncture that there came upon the 
scene a lady who was soon intimately associated 
with Princess Amelia, and who, a few years later, 
was to become her most close and trusted confidante. 

Mrs. George Villiers, sister of Lord Boringdon 
(afterwards first Earl of Morley 2 ) and wife of the 
Honourable George Villiers, third son of the first 

1 Maltnesbury's Diaries, Vol. IV. p. 319. Rose Diaries, 
Vol. II. p. 148. 

2 Mrs. Villiers corresponded with her brother almost every 
day and he kept every one of his sister's letters, now in the 
possession of the Lister family the representatives of Mrs. 
Villiers 's daughter Lady Theresa, who married first Thomas 
Henry Lister, Esq., of Armitage Park, Staffordshire, and 
secondly the Right Hon. Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Bart. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Earl of Clarendon, had at this time close relations 
with the Court. 

"My acquaintance with the Princess Amelia," 
writes this lady to her daughter, Lady Theresa 
Lewis, 1 "was begun in June 1804, when George III 
was recovering from one of his attacks of insanity 
and was residing at Kew as a quieter and healthier 
place than London. Your father and I were 
ordered by Queen Charlotte (through the Princess 
Elizabeth) to come to reside at Kew also, that your 
father might be always at hand to attend upon the 
King, and an offer was made at the same time to 
lodge me and my children there in a small house, 
belonging to the Duke of Cumberland, that he 
might have no reason for going away. Accordingly 
we went there for many weeks, and passed a very 
melancholy time seeing the King constantly on the 
verge of relapsing into insanity, frequently showing 
signs of fatuity by playing with his trinkets and 
jewellery, sometimes talking from excitement till 

1 Letter dated Grove Hill House, April 8, 1847. The 
letter begins : " My dearest Theresa. You have often asked 
me to write down from memory all that I could recall to 
it respecting the attachment which subsisted for many years 
between my poor friend the Princess Amelia and General 
Charles FitzRoy. I always intended to comply with your 
request, but I wished to refer to many letters now in my 
possession." Letter among the papers of the late Sir Villiers 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

he foamed at the mouth, particularly one evening 
when he talked to me a whole hour of his plan for 
going to Saltram 1 by sea, and having the Corona- 
tion anthem played all the time he was on board. 
Your father had more power over the King than 
any one else (the consequence of his constantly 
treating him with firmness and respect), and was 
never allowed to be absent. He dined with the 
equerries and the Household ; I dined every day with 
the Queen and Princesses, and drove out afterwards 
with them when the weather was fine. The King 
(with Dr. Symons at his side) used to ride out at the 
same time with a great cortege of Princesses and 
their ladies, equerries, attendants, and frequently 
some of the Royal Dukes. The drives were gener- 
ally in the neighbourhood of Richmond, Hampton 
Court, etc., but occasionally we went to Harrow, 
where the King would harangue the boys; but as 
he always ended by requesting a holiday for them 
his visits were sure to be welcome. . . . All this, 
however, has been a digression from what I pro- 
posed to narrate, though not one that is altogether 
useless, as it leads to your seeing the cause and 
origin of my intimacy with the Royal Family. A 
long residence with them under such painful cir- 

1 Her brother Lord Boringdon's place in Devonshire 
near Plympton (by the way, the early home of Sir Joshua 
Reynolds, Lord Boringdon being his principal patron). 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

cumstances could not fail to produce much con- 
fidential intercourse, and brought me en relation 
with the Princesses in a manner that could not have 
taken place under any other circumstances, and I 
must in justice to them say that I never saw any 
daughters be they who they may show such 
assiduous and affectionate devotion to their father 
as they all did, but perhaps none so much as the 
Princesses Sophia and Amelia. They both ap- 
peared to become much attached to me, and over- 
whelmed me with kindness and affection, which I 
most sincerely returned. At first my intimacy was 
chiefly with the Princess Sophia, who seemed to 
place the most unbounded confidence in me and 
excited my sympathy and compassion to an un- 
bounded degree in return, as I thought her more 
sinned against than sinning. My general impres- 
sion of her character was much changed afterwards, 
as you know. 1 With the Princess Amelia, on the 

1 The shocking story of Princess Sophia has of late years 
been revived and made public in the Letters of Princess 
Lie-yen and the Creevey Papers respectively. Of Princess 
Sophia we will only say that her retribution was so terrible 
that it should silence the condemnation of all charitable 
persons. Of whatever indiscretions she may have been 
guilty, she was believed to have been brutally deceived by 
her own brother ; while her son, grown to manhood, behaved 
with unparalleled callousness and meanness, demanding 
money for silence * and boasting that he was the only com- 

P * Times article March 14 (1829). Morning Chronicle^ March 14, 16, 18, 24 

8 7 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

contrary, the friendship increased daily, an'd she 
evinced the most perfect confidence in me on all 
subjects but one, viz. the attachment that existed 
between her and General Charles FitzRoy, second 
son of Lord Southampton. From the year 1804, 
when our intercourse began, till the year 1808, she 
never once alluded to it. I heard of it from most 

moner whose parents were both of royal birth. He passed 
by the name of Garth, that of his reputed father, General 
Garth, one of the King's equerries, who went through the 
form of marriage with Princess Sophia at Ilsington * near 
Dorchester, he being older than she by thirty-two years. 
Shortly before his death, at an advanced age, General Garth 
disclosed to the young man his true parentage. As she 
advanced in life Princess Sophia was stricken with total blind- 
ness. She resided in a house in Kensington, where she was 
visited by such friends as valued her merits and admired her 
ability. She had been a connoisseur and collector of curios, and 
when unable to see her treasures she could describe them 
from memory. An old female servant, known to the writer, 
lived when young in the service of Princess Sophia, then 
advanced in years. She spoke gratefully of her royal mistress, 
never alluding to any scandals which she may have heard. 
One curious fact, however, she often mentioned. At certain 
times all the servants had strict orders not to enter the Prin- 
cess's apartments. Her Royal Highness was to be left for 
a day or two totally unattended. No questions were asked 
and no reasons were vouchsafed. ... It was then that the 
uphappy mother received visits from her son. Princess Sophia 
died in 1848. Her remains were not honoured by royal 
sepulture, but lie where the one name "Sophia," marks her 
solitary grave in Kensal Green, with the text, pathetically 
appropriate, "Come unto Me all ye that labour and are 
heavy laden." 

* Ilsington rented by General Garth from the Earl of Orford. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

of the other members of the family indeed it was 
sufficiently visible to every one; and, what was very 
remarkable, the King, though perfectly unconscious 
of the attachment, never missed an opportunity of 
placing Princess Amelia under the care of General 
FitzRoy, whether in dancing, riding or on any other 

Further extracts from this letter of Mrs. Villiers 
will be given when our chronicle has reached a date 
at which Princess Amelia confided unreservedly in 
this lady. 


1804 (continued) 





AFTER the conclusion of the sojourn of the Royal 
Family at Kew in the summer of 1804 (Mrs. Villiers's 
account of which we have quoted), the King, to out- 
ward appearances restored to his usual health, was 
able to make his accustomed move to Weymouth 
in August, accompanied by his family the two 
younger Princesses Sophia and Amelia tarrying to 
rest at Andover on the way. 

The Royal Family do not appear to have been 
happy on this occasion at Weymouth. Lord Liver- 
pool told Lord Henley, who wrote the news to his 
brother Lord Auckland (September n, 1804), that 
the King "marks unequivocally and by many facts 
that he is dissatisfied with [the Queen]. . . . Her 
temper is represented as fractious in the extreme 
. . . within the family there are strange schisms 
and cabals and divisions among the sons and 
daughters. One of the two youngest of the latter 

[Sophia and Amelia] dines alternately with the 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Patron [the King] and nobody else." The King at 
this time even talked of making a separate provision 
for his daughters. Lord Hobart writing to his 
father-in-law Lord Auckland [September 19, 1804] 
remarks, " It is a melancholy circumstance to see a 
family that had lived together for such a number 
of years completely broken up." 1 

From Weymouth at the end of October the King 
and Queen, together with all the Princesses and the 
Dukes of Cumberland and Cambridge, proceeded 
for a few days to Cuffnells, which the King borrowed 
from Mr. Rose, the latter remaining in his own 
house as the King's guest. Four ladies were in 
attendance on the Queen and the Princesses, namely 
Lady Ilchester, Lady Isabella Thynne, Lady 
Georgiana Buckley, and her sister Lady Matilda 
Wynyard. We shall meet with these two last- 
mentioned ladies 2 later on, playing very dissimilar 
parts in the royal surroundings. 

"After breakfast," notes Mr. Rose in his diary, 
"we rode to Cadlands with the Duk'es of Cumber- 
land and Cambridge and the Princesses Amelia and 
Sophia, with their attendants, in a storm of wind 
and heavy rain, which came on before we got a mile 
from Lyndhurst." 

1 Correspondence of William first Lord Auckland, Vol. 
IV. pp. 212, 213, 214. 

2 Daughters of John second Earl De, La Warr. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

On another occasion, while the whole royal party 
with Mr. Rose was riding one morning after break- 
fast towards Southampton General FitzRoy, it 
may be noted, being in attendance Princess Amelia 
had a fall from her horse. Mr. Rose, who was riding 
in front with the King at the moment of the acci- 
dent, thus records the incident 

"Of Lord North his Majesty was beginning to 
speak in very favourable terms, when we were inter- 
rupted by the Princess Amelia (who with the other 
Princesses were riding behind us) getting a most 
unfortunate fall. The horse, on cantering down an 
inconsiderable hill, came on his head and threw her 
Royal Highness flat on her face. She rose without 
any appearance of being at all hurt, but evidently a 
good deal shaken; and notwithstanding an earnest 
wish to avoid occasioning the slightest alarm, was 
herself not desirous of getting on horseback again; 
but the King insisted that she should, if at all hurt, 
get into one of the carriages and return to Cuffnells 
to be bled, or otherwise mount another horse to ride 
on. She chose the latter, and rode to Southampton, 
where she lost some blood, unknown to the King. 
I hazarded an advice, that no one else would do, for 
her Royal Highness' return, which was certainly 
not well received, and provoked a quickness from 

his Majesty that I experienced in no other instance. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

He observed that he could not bear that any of his 
family should want courage. To which I replied 
I hoped his Majesty would excuse me if I said 
I thought a proper attention to prevent the ill effects 
of an accident which had happened was no symptom 
of a want of courage. He then said to me, with some 
warmth : ' Perhaps it may be so ; but I thank God 
there is but one of my children who wants courage, 
and I will not name HIM, because he is to succeed 
me? I own I was deeply pained at the observation, 
and dropped behind to speak to General Fitzroy, 
which gave a turn to the conversation." * 

On the day following, November 2, the royal 
party left Cuffnells, and after stopping to dine with 
the Bishop of Winchester at Farnham Castle, 
arrived the same evening at Windsor. 

On the conclusion of the royal visit to Cuffnells 
Mr. Rose makes the following somewhat obscure 
entry in his diary 

" During the time their Majesties were at Cuff- 
nells I could not perceive anything that could lead 
to the remotest suspicion of what I had before heard 
from the most positive and unquestionable authority, 
and of the absolute certainty of which I am as 
entirely convinced as if I had been present when 

1 Rose Diaries, Vol. II. p. 176. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

the occurrence happened. While in this house there 
was every appearance of perfect cordiality, and I 
had good opportunities of watching for symptoms, 
as I was constantly at table with the Royal Family 
when they dined here, as well as every night at 
supper and every evening at cards." 1 

It is evident that every member of the Royal 
Family had the good taste to exercise a proper 
restraint in the presence of the owner of Cuffnells 
and while residing under his roof. 

But affairs were not any better on the return to 

The Prince of Wales, who visited his father at 
the end of November, brought back but a gloomy 
report of the state of his mind. " He had found 
things at Windsor," wrote Lord Grenville, " as bad 
as they had been represented, the King indeed 
having a power of restraining himself and talking 
naturally for some time on some points, but no day 
passing without much of a different description. The 
King at such times said the most improper things 
in the presence of his daughters." Lord Colchester 

1 Rose Diaries, Vol. II. p. 198. Mr. Rose's next sentence 
is as follows : " It may be hoped from hence that the advice 
which has been recently given to her Royal Highness has 
produced some effect, for a time at least." This probably 
alludes to Princess Sophia, although it might be supposed to 
allude to the unguarded conduct of the Princess of Wales. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

writes, "The King is harassed by family disputes; 
the Queen insists on living entirely separate." Lord 
Malmesbury gives a glimpse of the Queen's char- 
acteristic behaviour, marked as usual by her extreme 
caution in a crisis. Her great dread was lest the 
King should at any moment be seized with mania, 
while the King, on his part, suspected her of sym- 
pathy with the Prince of Wales. '' The Queen," 
says Lord Malmesbury, "will never receive the 
King without one of the Princesses being present 
never says in reply a word piques herself on this 
discreet silence, and when in London locks the door 
of her white room her boudoir against him." 

Lord Buckinghamshire (Hobart), writing from 
Roehampton towards the end of the year, reports to 
Lord Auckland : " By the little news I have been 
able to pick up in the course of the morning, I should 
imagine that nothing could be more deplorable than 
the interior of a certain great house in Windsor the 
whole family divided into parties and everything 
going on as ill as possible." 1 

It was in the midst of these unhappy surround- 
ings that Princess Amelia turned more and more 
to General FitzRoy as the " best friend " she could 
rely on to whom, in fact, she had long confided 
her whole heart. 

1 Auckland Correspondence, Vol. IV. p. 220. 









AMONG General FitzRoy's papers is a manuscript 
programme of a concert at the " Queen's Palace," 
which had evidently some happy associations for 
Amelia and himself. Both were extremely fond of 



Overture " Occasional Oratorio " Handel 

Recitative "I was at the royal feast" ) x , , 7 

A- , r<j u u f MRS. VAUGHAN 

Air and Chorus " Happy pair / 

{Alexander's Feasf) 
Recitative " The praise of Bacchus " \ M RAWTIWMAK 

* * ei T\ * r * J 3)* 1VJ.K* J3AK. J. Lii,iM Arl 

Air " Bacchus, ever fair and young J 

Chorus " Bacchus' blessings are a treasure " 

Concerto Oboe 

Trio '' The flocks shall leave the Mountains " (Acts and Galatea] 

Air " Falsa imagina " (Otho) MRS. BIANCHI 

Chorus " Happy we " 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 


" First Concerto Organo " Handel 

Recitative " Hark ! the horrid sound " (Alexander's Feast} 
Air "Revenge! Timotheus cries" \ M BARTLEMAN 

Air "Behold a ghastly band" f' 

Chorus " Let old Timotheus " 

Concerto Violino "Geminiani" MR. LEVEQUE 

Air " O beauteous quire " {Esther) 

Recitative " The mighty master " \MRSVAUGHAN 

j * et r* r. i T i J" JI / AV1K.O. V AU \yt\ A IN 

Air "Softly sweet to Lydian Measures J 

(Alexander's Feast) 
Chorus " The many rend the skies " 

The year 1805 opened with a brighter state of 
things for the Royal Family. The poor King was 
restored to apparent health of body and mind. He 
was extremely pleased with his new arrangements 
and " improvements " (so called) at Windsor Castle, 
though it is said the " Princesses did not like them 
at all." :< The apartments," says a chronicler x of 
Court matters, "were fitted up in all the conveni- 
ence of a modern style of magnificence; and, with 
a view to exhibiting the new improvements, a most 
splendid fete was given at Windsor Castle on 
February 26." A ball and concert took place, 
and Handel's oratorio Esther was given at the 
King's particular desire. Many of the Eton boys 
supped in the Presence-Chamber, the King having 
personally invited them, to the intense annoyance 
of the masters who were not included in the 

1 Quoted by Huish, George III. 
c 97 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

"One of the most splendid pageants," records 
the same enthusiastic writer, "was the magnificent 
installation of the Order of the Garter which took 
place at Windsor Chapel on St. George's Day, 
April 23, 1805." The King took great interest and 
pleasure in the whole ceremony, but distressed 
every one by wearing a huge and most eccentric 
wig on the occasion, in spite of the Queen having 
gone down on her knees to beg him not to wear it. 

The Prince of Wales was extremely sulky at this 
installation, sneering at what he called his father's 
show. But the Princesses, to whom any festivities 
were welcome, thoroughly enjoyed the week's bustle 
and excitement, and even Princess Amelia could 
not have failed to share in the general gaiety. 

A letter from Princess Mary to Lady Albinia 
Cumberland, from the original 1 of which we have 
permission to quote, has such an air of life and 
stir that an extract from it will not be inappropriate 

After telling Lady Albinia she will be expected 
to come to Windsor before the installation and 
" remain on till we go to town, Sunday April 3oth," 
Princess Mary proceeds 

"As to dress you are to be much dressed as if 
at a drawing-room, having the hoop. You may if 

1 In the possession of the Honourable Mrs. R. C. Boyle. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

you like it wear the same gown in the evening you 
appear in in the morning, though the K. and Q. 
have a drawing-room in the evening which I beg 
you will say to who ever asks you. As to Albinia 
[Miss Cumberland] you will of course not wish to 
deprive her of a sight she may never see again, 
therefore I write to say that I have in consequence 
got her a ticket, and of course she will be in your 
room with you [in the Castle], as she has a perfect 
right to come to the Drawing-room in the evening. 
The public dinner only takes in rank, therefore you 
must take care that your daughter gets something in 
her room. Albinia will be asked to Frogmore for 
my birthday, 1 for which fete I send her a muslin 
gown which I hope she will like. Therefore you 
will keep her at Windsor till the 26th, when the 
whole party breaks up, leaving those that remain 
with us till we go to town. I cannot promise that 
Albinia will be asked up to our parties on Monday 
evening and Wednesday, as our party is already 
so large that it will be impossible to take in every 
lady that is lodged. I hope I have made myself 
perfectly clear, and put you au fait of everything. 

: ' Your affectionate 

" MARY." 

1 April 25, when Princess Mary was 29. 
G 2 99 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

The King had for some time been most anxious 
to obtain the guardianship of his little grand- 
daughter, the Princess Charlotte, who was now nine 
years old. Not only was he desirous of rescuing 
her from the surroundings of her father at Carlton 
House, and from the dreaded Roman Catholic 
influence of Mrs. FitzHerbert which amiable lady, 
by the way, loved children as much as did the King 
but he heartily longed to welcome a child into 
his family. " The King delighted in children," 
remarks J. H. Jesse, "and accordingly it was un- 
fortunate for his happiness that of his own offspring 
even the youngest and best beloved, the Princess 
Amelia, had sprung up to womanhood." 

Amelia was in fact twenty-one years old in the 
previous August. Her age, however, had not 
brought her a woman's independence. She had still 
five long years before her ere she could, in any 
event, be free to marry the man of her choice. 

The Royal Marriage Act, which her own father 
had framed before she was born, was the insuper- 
able obstacle to the realization of her desires. The 
Act had been passed in 1772 in consequence of the 
marriages of the King's brothers the Dukes of 
Gloucester and Cumberland with ladies of non- 
royal birth, to render illegal similar alliances in 
future, unless contracted with the consent of the 
Crown and the Privy Council. In the Act, however, 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

is a clause 1 of which the Princess secretly hoped to 
avail herself some day. In accordance with its pro- 
visions she could give notice to the Privy Council 
of her intended marriage when she should be 
twenty-five, and, if Parliament did not forbid the 
intended marriage before the expiration of a year 
from the giving notice, she would be free to marry, 
and her marriage would be valid. 

Poor Princess ! While she danced and sang and 
painted, she was all the time longing for the years 
to roll by. And as year by year her birthday was 
celebrated with due festivity it was kept at Wey- 
mouth in 1805, when the King invited a "brilliant 
company " to a grand banquet in her honour at the 
principal hotel at Weymouth, and to a ball after- 
wards at which he himself was present we may 
imagine how she only rejoiced to have reached 
another year nearer to the time when she should be 
free to take the law into her own hands. 

In the meantime should all the princes in Europe 
be at her feet, she would reject them every one. 
None but her betrothed husband should ever win 
her hand and heart. And as a solemn pledge of 
fidelity, and as an earnest of the time when she 
would be his wedded wife, she would sign her 
letters to him by his own dear name thus signify- 
ing that in marrying him she would renounce her 

1 See Appendix II. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

royal privileges. With what a thrill of romance 
did she trace her new initials "A. F. R." ! And 
was he not, equally with herself, sprung of the race 
of kings? 

It was fortunate for her that she had fallen into 
honourable hands. Her assurances to FitzRoy in 
later years when she was dying sufficiently attest 
his good conduct in regard to her; while his own 
touching words written after her death, " I owe 
every surface value I can ever possess " to the 
memory of "her transcendent purity of affection," 
are surely a testimony to their heroic virtue. 








To resume our chronology : The news of Trafalgar 
brought universal joy, and distraction from private 
gloom, to the inmates of Windsor Castle in Novem- 
ber 1805. Lady Ilchester wrote thence at that 
date: 1 "What glorious news is just arrived! I 
quite envy Lord Nelson's death. 2 We are all spirits 
now, and the dear King since yesterday is much 

Next month Princess Amelia, in a letter dated 
"Windsor Castle, Dec r - 4, 1805," addressed to her 
friend Mrs. Villiers, 3 gives some insight into current 
news, public and private 

" According to Promise, my dearest Mrs. Villiers, 

1 Mary Countess of Ilchester to Lady Harriet Frampton : 
Journal of Mary Frampton, p. 137. 

2 Nelson's death, October 21, 1805. 

3 From the papers of her grandson the late Sir Villiers 
Lister. Letter written two days after the battle of Austerlitz. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

I take up my pen to let you know how we all go on 
here. Two mails came in yesterday and another 
to-day. They seem to think the news of the Peace 
stock-jobbing 1 and will not do. Arch Duke Charles 
is not dead. The English landed the i;th and are 
at Bremen. The Swedish troops had marched but 
were suddenly stopped, and the accounts from 
Berlin cannot be made out but they appear there 
very wavering. The Emperor of Russia had joined 
the troops and there is good news from them, as 
you will hear before you get this. What I have 
said, don't quote me. The dear King appears 
worried with business. All I hope is they will wait 
for a certainty about the Peace before they send 
more troops, and I own, if it is to end so, I can't 
see how to prevent more of our good countrymen 
being sacrificed. I hear the expedition now, if any 
goes, will be chiefly Cavalry and commanded by 
Lord Cathcart. 2 The D. of York will certainly not 
go till the Spring, but they all seem to be at sixes 
and sevens, and not knowing what is to be done. 
The King rode yesterday and was remarkably 

" Stock-jobbing " : some prominently placed persons 
for stock-jobbing purposes did not disdain to cry " Peace " 
when there was no peace, and thus quickly secured large 
profits before the subsequent depression had set in. 

2 William tenth Lord Cathcart, afterwards first Earl 
a very distinguished general; commander-in-chief of the 
expedition to Copenhagen in 1807. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

well all day. He feared the damp to-day and 
would not go out. He said Phipps did not mind 
cold, only damp and wind. I am sorry he [the 
King] did not ride this fine day. He complained 
of having bad rheumatism in the night in his face, 
but I believe it owing to a tooth, and he dreads a 
dentist. He is poking at it to draw it out himself. 
Frederick [Duke of York] was to have come to-day, 
but sent word he had so much business he could 
not, but he should come to-morrow. Lord Har- 
rington 1 set off last night, Lord Macclesfield 2 comes 
to-day. The accounts of Lady C. Finch 3 are 
better. Parliament must, on account of money 
meet the 7th January, and therefore the dear King 
goes up Friday for a Council. Certainly, by what 
I hear, he has not given up the idea of plays and 
the annual Concert, and intends returning at night 
to Kew at least so he told General Gwynne when 
here. After we came home yesterday with the 
King, Mama made us ride to St. Leonard's. Oh ! 
how bored I was ! and such a party of Pophams 
[bores]! Oh! Mercy! That little Rams-bottom 
is a very odd child all affectation and to show 

1 Charles third Earl of Harrington, Governor and Con- 
stable of Windsor Castle, born 1753, died 1829. 

2 George fourth Earl of Macclesfield, born 1755, died 

3 Lady Charlotte Finch, formerly Head-Governess to the 
Princesses, daughter of the Earl of Pomfret. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

off. I think she will in time be very disagreeable 

and give Mrs. H 1 [Harcourt] more pain than 

pleasure if she goes on as she does now. 

" It is said Edmund Phipps 1 is to marry Miss 
Martin I suppose Mrs. Robinson's friend. I 
hope your dear Jack is well. 2 Give my love to 
your hubby, who I hope is well, if not do insist 
on his seeing Vaughan. 3 God bless you, and 
believe me your ever very affectionate and obliged 


The opening of the year 1806 brought news of 
the serious illness of Mr. Pitt. The anticipation 
of its fatal termination, followed by the calamity 
of his death, wrought up the feelings of the Royal 
Family at Windsor to a pitch of distress and con- 
sternation difficult in our own days to conceive. 
It was believed that the throne unsupported by 
Pitt would totter to its fall, and that thus would 
collapse the whole fabric of England's glory. 
Amelia caught the general infection, and her love 

1 General the Honourable Edmund Phipps, third son of 
first Lord Mulgrave, born 1760, died unmarried 1837. 

2 Mrs. Villier's brother John, second Lord Boringdon, 
afterwards first Earl of Morley. 

3 The doctor who later took the name of Halford and was 
the celebrated Sir Henry Halford. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

for her father made her secretly dread lest the shock 
of Pitt's death should induce a renewal of his old 
malady. The King himself was oppressed by a 
feeling that his mental powers would give way. 
The fear, however, at this time proved groundless. 
It may be said that possibly Amelia believed her 
father's fondness for Pitt to be greater than it was. 
Certainly Pitt had not always been a particular 
favourite of the King. 

We find Princess Amelia writing to her friend 
Mrs. Villiers on the eve of Pitt's death in January 


" I really am miserable the accounts of Mr. 
Pitt are so very bad this morning. The dear Angel 
[the King] heard there was no hope. Colonel 
Taylor 1 went over to Putney where he found the 
bad accounts quite confirmed. The Physicians said 
his pulse was high and low all in a minute, and the 
complaint gained ground, that he was aware of his 
situation, and had prayed for an hour with the 
Bishop of London and said he died in Peace with 
all the world. He wished to make his will but was 
too weak, so the Bishop wrote it and Mr. P. signed 

1 The King's devoted secretary, afterwards Sir Herbert 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

it. Taylor saw nobody but Lord Hawkesbury, 1 
who could not keep up at all. The dear King 
behaves like an Angel. I own I am in agonies; I 
do not fear the present moment so much as the 
future, for you know with him [the King] dis- 
tress blazes out long after the blow. There were 
appearances of thrush 2 last night, so to-night they 
put on a blister. The Dear 3 goes to town to- 
morrow. Unless a fortunate change takes place in 
this poor man's state, what a loss ! How irrepar- 
able ! How I wish I could change situations with 
him, for though the Dear might regret me, yet 
among such a tribe of children he could easily get 
over it. But Mr. Pitt is irreparable! I hope if the 
worst comes dear Mr. Villiers 4 will come. I am 
so grieved he is not here now. For God's sake 
write to me. Lady Sidney 5 is come how odd ! 

1 Afterwards second Earl of Liverpool (of the Jenkinson 
family) and First Lord of the Treasury 1812 to 1827. 

2 This evidently refers to Mr. Pitt's condition. 

3 The King. 

4 The Honourable George Villiers, who had had great 
influence over the King when he was ill the year before. 

5 Query Viscountess Sydney, mother of Lady Chatham? 
Queen Charlotte, writing to Lady Harcourt says : " Lady 
Sidney as usual came to Windsor, but is always confined 
when she is wanted the Finger, the Bowels, the Head, 
the Stomach are warring against one another, and make 
her as useless as if she was not here." Harcourt Papers, 
Vol. VI. p. 86. 

1 08 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

she was at Lord Chatham's last night, who said 
he [Mr. Pitt] was mending, and that they were in 
high spirits ! Was there ever anything so dreadful 
as this happening now? Tell me what you hear 
and think. Your letters are destroyed the moment 
they are read. Who will come in? I have a 
horror upon me I cannot describe. Think ! how 
vexatious Farquhar 1 must have been here and let 
Vaughan l come in. They were all mad together 
Farquhar made Mr. Pitt leave entirely off his wine 
after all the quantity he used to drink ! God bless 
you. If you can write do and if sent to the Queen's 
House by four I shall have your letter by the chaise. 
" Ever your very affec te 


" Wednesday night: 3 

Pitt died the next day, January 23 (1806), and 
Princess Amelia again takes up her pen to pour 
forth to her confidante the state of affairs at Windsor 
on the receipt of the fatal news 

' The accounts of Mr. Pitt's death reached the 
Dear [the King] after chaple [sic\ this morning, just 
as he was going to town. Taylor told it him im- 
mediately. He was quite prepared. He is most 

1 The doctors. Sir Walter Farquhar had been created 
a baronet in 1796. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

deeply hurt and affected, but shines, if possible, in 
this trying moment more than ever. He has deter- 
mined on going to town and even sleeping there, 
till things are settled. He will hear to-morrow 
whether he must go up on Saturday or not. He 
dreads having one of his illnesses, and I own I feel 
miserable. What will they do? What do you 
hear? A/[ama] is very kind. 

[Later] " He [the King] returned this evening 
about seven just as well I believe as when he 

" Pray come over Saturday if we are here. I 
long to see dear ' Taut Mieux.' 1 . . . 

" I find Mr. Pitt rambled at times, but if spoke to 
was always sensible. He didn't see Lord Chat- 
ham 2 for the last ten days. F k [Duke of 

York] comes to-morrow evening; I own I am sorry 
as I think he always does harm. 3 

" I will add in how the dear Angel is to-morrow 
evening. The sort of fright and horror I have 
upon me I really cannot describe. Taylor is 
against the King going to town. I own I think it 

1 Nickname for Mrs. Villiers, as she frequently made 
use of the expression. 

2 Mr. Pitt's elder brother John, the second Earl of 
Chatham, K.G. 

3 The King was much attached to the Duke of York; 
but his visits perhaps were considered to excite the King 
too much. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

will save him above everything in the eyes of the 
world [if he goes] and put a stop to all the injurious 

Friday. " Thank you for your letter. I am 
grieved about dear George * [Villiers]. At all 
events I hope to see Mr. Villiers to-morrow whether 
the Dear rides or not, and send me a few lines by 
him to say how you all do. The Dear is much 
oppressed and low but calm. He told me he would 
not ride. F k has been with him all the morn- 
ing, and stays till eight this evening. The wish is 
Lord G[renville] and Lord Spdmouth] should come 
in. I fear that won't do. He dreads the office. 
I am frightened out of my wits. It is said here if 
Fox comes in he won't stand. What will become 
of us? 

" Ever y r affectionate and grateful 


About this time a contemporary writer reports 
that "Our Sovereign's sight is so much improved 
since last spring that he can now clearly distinguish 
objects twenty yards." [Oddly enough Mrs. Har- 
court 2 attributes his blindness to his wearing a 
peculiar kind of cocked-hat which projected over 
his eyes.] 

1 Afterwards fourth Earl of Clarendon. 

2 Harcourt Papers. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

The same writer l gives the following account of 
the domestic habits of the King and the Royal 
Family in this year 

"When the King rises, which is generally about 
half-past seven o'clock, he proceeds immediately 
to the Queen's saloon, where his Majesty is met by 
one of the Princesses, generally either Augusta, 
Sophia, or Amelia, for each in turn attend their 
revered parent. From thence the sovereign and his 
daughter, attended by the lady-in-waiting, proceed 
to the chapel in the castle, wherein divine service 
is performed by the dean or sub-dean; the cere- 
mony occupies about an hour. Thus the time 
passes until nine o'clock, when the King, instead of 
proceeding to his own apartment and breakfasting 
alone, now takes that meal with the Queen and the 
five Princesses. Table is always set out in the 
Queen's noble breakfast-room, which has been 
recently decorated with very elegant modern hang- 
ings, and since the late improvements of Mr. Wyatt, 
commands a most delightful and extensive prospect 
of the Little Park. The breakfast does not occupy 
half-an-hour; the King and Queen at the head of 
the table and the Princesses according to seniority; 
etiquette in every other respect is strictly adhered 
to. On entering the room the usual forms are 
1 Quoted by Huish, George ///, p. 606. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

observed, agreeable to rank. After breakfast the 
King generally rides, attended by his equerries; 
three of the Princesses, namely Augusta, Sophia, 
and Amelia are usually of the party. Instead of 
only walking his horse, his Majesty now proceeds 
at a good round trot. When the weather is un- 
favourable the King retires to his favourite sitting- 
room and sends for Generals FitzRoy or Manners 
to play chess with him. His Majesty, who knows 
the game well, is highly pleased when he beats the 
former, that gentleman being an excellent player. 
The King dines regularly at two o'clock, the Queen 
and Princesses at four. His Majesty visits and 
takes a glass of wine and water with them at five. 
After this period public business is frequently 
transacted by the King in his own study, wherein 
he is attended by his private secretary, Colonel 
Taylor. The evening is as usual passed at cards 
in the Queen's drawing-room, where three tables 
are set out. To these parties many of the principal 
nobility, etc., residing in the neighbourhood are 
invited. When the Castle clock strikes ten the 
visitors retire. The supper is set out, but that is 
merely a matter of form and of which [sic] none of 
the family partake. These illustrious personages 
retire at eleven o'clock to rest for the night. The 
journal of one day is the history of a whole year." 








THE tradition of Princess Amelia having stayed 
at Stoke Bruerne Park, the Northamptonshire home 
of theWentworth-Vernons, is enveloped in obscurity. 
That she did stay there, in a quiet way, at some 
period after her attachment to General FitzRoy 
began, there seems no doubt; while a tradition 
handed down to this day by the old people in the 
neighbouring parish of Alderton that Princess 
Amelia spent her days at Stoke Bruerne " in weep- 
ing and lamentation," is only too characteristic of the 
poor girl, in certain unhappy phases, not to be true. 
Unfortunately such proofs of her visit as might 
have been forthcoming from family letters or papers 
are wanting; and the total destruction by fire, in 
1886, of the central block of the mansion, 1 with 

1 Built by Inigo Jones. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

everything it contained, has obliterated any traces 
that may have existed up to that date. 

Strangely enough, some antique chairs bearing 
the initial "A" and the royal crown, said to have 
been " done by Princess Amelia herself," together 
with thirty-six silver plates with the same cypher and 
" left by Princess Amelia," escaped the conflagra- 
tion, the chairs being at the time set aside for repairs 
in one of the wings which were not attacked by the 
flames, while the silver plates were safe at the bank. 
That none of these interesting relics belonged to the 
Princess Amelia of our romance is one of those 
puzzling facts the unravelling of which adds so great 
an interest to the researches of domestic history. 

By a curious coincidence the elder Princess 
Amelia, daughter of Ge6rge II, the masculine great- 
aunt and godmother alluded to in our opening page, 
had had a much longer connection with Stoke 
Bruerne, some fifty years earlier, than that of the 
younger Princess. The chairs and the plate 
undoubtedly belonged to the former. In the reign 
of George II, and in the early years of the reign of 
George III, the owner of Stoke Bruerne was Lady 
Henrietta Vernon, a daughter of Thomas Went- 
worth, Earl of Strafford, and wife of Mr. Vernon of 
Hilton Park, Staffordshire. Lady Henrietta was 
Woman of the Bedchamber to Princess Amelia (the 
first). Some letters from this Princess addressed to 

H 2 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

her " Good Lady Henrietta " in a somewhat imperi- 
ous style 1 are among Mr. Bertie Wentworth- 
Vernon's few remaining papers at Stoke Bruerne. 

A further complication exists in the singular fact 
that for both the Princesses Amelia so dissimilar 
in character and circumstances, so widely separated 
by epoch and generation Stoke Bruerne possessed 
the same identical attraction, namely, that it was 
in the FitzRoy country. 

The first Amelia was notoriously enamoured of 
Charles FitzRoy, second Duke of Graf ton 2 great- 

1 It was in allusion to the royal importance of this august 
relative that her niece the Duchess of Brunswick racily 
remarked a propos of her own brothers' (Gloucester and Cum- 
berland) respective marriages with the non-royal widows 
(Waldegrave and Horton), " I long to know where these 
Dainty Widows are to be Buried ; if it's by Princess Amelia 
she will make a great noise at the raising of the dead." 
(Letter of Augusta Duchess of Brunswick to Elizabeth 
Duchess of Hamilton and Argyll. Intimate Society Letters 
of the Eighteenth Century. Duke of Argyll. 1910.) 

2 Since a proposed alliance for the Princess with Frederick 
of Prussia had come to nothing, she declined all offers of 
marriage from various inferior princelings, and preferred her 
freedom. Queen Caroline opposed her daughter's flirtation 
with the Duke of Graf ton, but Princess Amelia was free after 
her mother's death. The Duke was very many years older 
than she, but he had, says Mr. W. H. Wilkins, "the per- 
sonal beauty and charm of manner characteristic of the 
FitzRoys." With regard to the Princess the same authority 
says: "Of a masculine turn of mind, her happiest hours 
were spent in the hunting-field, in the stables and in the 
kennels. Far from indifferent to admiration, she had a 
liking for men's society. She had flirtations with the Duke 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

grandfather of Charles FitzRoy, the hero of our 
romance. At Stoke Bruerne she had constant 
opportunities of meeting her lover. 

In like manner, sixty years later, the second 
Amelia doubtless found a special charm in Stoke 
Bruerne, that it was only five miles distant from 
Sholebrook, the house of General Charles FitzRoy. 
Here indeed she could ride with him in the royal 
forest of Whittlebury, which was under his official 
superintendence as Deputy Ranger. 

But Amelia the first was of very different metal 
from the refined and delicate Amelia the second. 
We cannot for a moment imagine the former 
passing her time in "weeping and lamentation." 
Robust, coarse, free, untrammelled alike by stand- 
ards of morality or fears of scandal, Amelia the 
first did not "do things by halves." Lady 
Henrietta Vernon was accommodating and made 
matters comfortable for her royal mistress. The 
Princess took up her abode at Stoke Bruerne for 
several years, and brought her furniture and plate, 
her horses and dogs probably the Duke of Graf- 
ton's horses and hounds while her ducal lover lived 
with her the greater part of the time. 1 In recog- 

of Newcastle and the Duke of Grafton. That with the latter 
was serious. It went on for a long time, and the Princess 
seems really to have been attached to him." (Caroline the 
Illustrious, p. 94 et seq.) 
1 The late Mr. Frederick William Vernon-Wentworth of 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

nition of Lady Henrietta's faithful service and 
friendship, the royal lady eventually left her the 
plate and furniture. Lady Henrietta died in the same 
year as the Princess, in 1786. Her second son, 
Leveson .Wentworth-Vernon of Aldborough, Suffolk, 
an eccentric bachelor, succeeded to the Northamp- 
tonshire property, and he was the owner of it at the 
time when Princess Amelia the second visited Stoke 
Bruerne in the early years of the nineteenth century. 
Probably he was not then residing there. His two 
sisters had been celebrated beauties in their youth; 
the elder, Harriet, or Henrietta, was the Lady Gros- 
venor, who had figured in a notorious lawsuit which 
brought her name too prominently before the world 
in association with one of the King's brothers; the 
younger, Miss Caroline Vernon, never married. 
Formerly, as a lovely and extremely lively young 
woman she had been a Maid-of-Honour to Queen 
Charlotte. (Certain love passages had then passed 
between her and the young Prince of Wales and 
others.) It may have been this connection with 
the Court that led to Stoke Bruerne being chosen 
for the young Amelia's sojourn when change of air 
and quiet surroundings were needed for her health, 
after one of her many attacks of illness. Certainly 
no more charming or secluded retreat could have 

Wentworth Castle (a grandson of Lady Henrietta Vernon) 
so stated. He died in 1885, aged 90. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

been found, while, as we have said, its being within 
easy reach of Sholebrook, was, we may be sure, 
sufficient to recommend it to Amelia herself as a 
delightful place in anticipation at least, for in 
reality she does not seem to have passed a wholly 
happy time there. 

Whatever may have been the cause, it came about 
that the young Amelia visited the very scenes once 
so familiar to the great-aunt and godmother who had 
lain in her grave for many a long year ; slept, it may 
be, in the same bed ; doubtless sat on the chairs and 
ate from the silver plates bearing the cypher which 
both Amelias had each in common with the other. 

We have alluded to a tradition handed down by 
the old folk at Alderton. They were of advanced 
age when they used often to talk of Princess Amelia 
to a former rector of Whittlebury. They well re- 
membered hearing of her staying at Stoke Bruerne. 
" She would remain indoors all day," they said, 
" passing her time in weeping and lamentation. But 
at night when the laundress brought the clothes to 
the house, she would be let down in the clothes- 
basket from her window, and wander in the park till 
early morning when she was dragged up again. 
At night too she would sometimes get into a chaise 
and be driven over to Sholebrook, 1 returning to 

1 Sholebrook House was formerly a part of Lord South- 
ampton's Whittlebury property. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Stoke at early dawn." In these stories we recognize 
the impulsiveness of the young Amelia and the reck- 
less imprudence born of guileless innocence to which 
we shall find Mrs. Villiers more than once refers. 1 

Among the relics at Stoke Bruerne the only por- 
trait of any member of the Royal Family is a minia- 
ture (said to be by Cosway) of the younger Amelia. 
It is a duplicate of the one at Windsor, and closely 
resembles the miniature among General FitzRoy's 
treasures in the possession of the late Mrs. W- 
Lowther. 2 All three represent the young Princess 
in the quaint cap and old-fashioned dress which she 
seems to have affected making her appear much 
older than she was. Thus while the furniture at 
Stoke Bruerne is the furniture of Princess Amelia 
the first, the portrait is the portrait of Amelia the 
second. Each are mementos of their respective 
connections with the place. 

1 Although these proceedings on the part of a princess 
were sufficiently remarkable for the rustics to hand down 
from generation to generation, yet, at the time when they 
occurred, they were considered the less extraordinary at 
Stoke Bruerne that its then owner, Mr. Leveson Vernon, was 
in the habit of turning night into day. Rising with the bats 
and owls when others retired to rest, this eccentric bachelor 
spent the night in active occupations, whether in the house 
or out of doors, and at cockcrow was wont to visit his tenants 
and cottagers, who were often aroused from their beds by 
the squire's rap at their doors. 

2 Another facsimile of this miniature is in the collection 
of the King of Wiirtemberg at Stuttgart. 

1 20 






THE following letter of Princess Amelia, signed 
"A. F. R." [Amelia FitzRoy], is undated, but we 
know from the allusion in it to Lord Bagot's mar- 
riage that it was written on February 7, 1807. On 
this day Lord Bagot was married to his second 
wife, his first having been a sister of General 

The taking of snuff, herein mentioned as a 
requisite of a young lady, may strike the fair ones of 
the present day as an extraordinary if not a repulsive 
habit. But it should be remembered that a hundred 
years ago the idea of a lady's smoking would have 
been viewed with amazement and horror when even 
a man's smoking was looked upon as the height of 
vulgarity, or at best as the barbarous custom of a 
bygone generation. It was humorously remarked 
with regard to the comparative merits of snuff and 
tobacco, that the precept was literally acted upon that 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

not that which goeth into a man defileth, but that 
which cometh out. The " elegant " Miss Burney, 
whose delicate feelings revolted against being told 
to ring the bell, was an adept at mixing the Queen's 
snuff. The King complimented Miss Burney on the 
way she " cooked snuff." Princess Augusta begged 
for a pinch. Princess Elizabeth', on the other hand, 
thought snuff the nastiest thing in the world, and 
wondered people should like it. Princess Amelia 
evidently liked snuff at least when General FitzRoy 
cooked it for her. 

[Letter labelled " Princess Amelia to General 
FitzRoy, Queen's Lodge, Windsor."] 


" I do hope I shall see you. How I long for 
it ! This is a fine day for Ld. B's l marriage, which 
I hope is a good omen for him, but to me is melan- 
choly, for I envy those who can marry. I shall send 
you some commissions to execute for me that is to 
get a watch mended, my curb chain . . . &c., and to 
get me my snuff. That . . . [illegible] repeater you 
have somewhere I wish you would let me take, as 
I have no clock at Weymouth. I told you, my 
Angel . . . [illegible] thought they might have made 
some remark about Frederick [Duke of York] going 
to Oatlands [his country house]. If I should meet 

1 Bagot. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

you out, will you, my dear love, come up to me. 
Remember you must come my side of the carriage, 
and I sit on the right side. I am quite sure the Q. 
rejoices at my going to get rid of me is her object 
on every account, but she hates Mary's going. She 
is a ... and her tool, as it suits her. The King said 
yesterday ' Govt. will begin ' and I then expect the 
others to settle and go. Oh, if an opportunity occurs 
for you to come don't let it pass, pray ! You will 
take care of all my things and all my concerns. I 
wish they may all go out to-morrow, for I wish to 
be alone for some hours. 

" My dear Angel, know how I love you and what 
you are to me. Ever your own very own 

"A. F. R. 

" I suppose you did not go to the party last 
night?" 1 

When this letter was written Princess Amelia was, 
as we have seen, on the eve of departure for a 
sojourn at Weymouth with her sister Mary. The 
Government alluded to was that of the Grenville 
Administration, known more familiarly as "All the 
Talents," and it terminated its brief existence on 
March 18, 1807, the King and his Ministers having 
split on the rock of Roman Catholic Emancipation. 

1 The late Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

The King did not go to Weymouth this year, and 
Amelia returned to Windsor to spend the summer 
with her family there. 

Meanwhile the lovers corresponded as ardently 
as ever. 

" Monday night, Windsor? 

[Princess Amelia to General FitzRoy.] 
" I don't know why, but I feel so miserable and 
yet so happy with your kindness, I cannot go to bed. 
I must tell my own dear Charles all my ideas. How 
very well you know me. You said I look tired. I 
felt unwell and was taken so at cards. Marry you 
my own dear Angel I really must and will; for 
though, thank God, I feel easy, yet your dear sus- 
picions always are in my mind; then many things 
here worry me from the fear of reviving them, 
though I long to tell you everything that happens to 
me, even at the risk of this; but confidence and 
openness and honesty in this and in all situations, 
only make us happier. As to what my sisters said 
about the Dear, 1 though I told it you, I own I don't 
mind it, for I am not ashamed. I glory in our 
attachment, only I think the Dear 2 too Royal and 
Kingly, if he knew it, to pity. I think you would 
have approved of my conduct at cards. I sat by old 
preachy, but never could see you, which I hated. 

1 The King. 

2 She means the King would never give his consent. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

I thought you rather cold to-night, and that vexed 
me, and I longed before I went to have talked to 
you. O, Good God, why not be together? I pine 
after my dear Charles more and more every instant. 
As I have not that blessing, I must have recourse to 
my pen. By my own folly of wishing to see the 
dwarf, I am banished into a visit to the B. . . . 
to-morrow, which annoys me you may guess how 
much. It is fortunately to be a general thing. My 
sisters go and Miss T . . . d [Townshend] and Mrs. 
E . . . n are asked, and Taylor &c. The T. C. wished 
me to beg . . . [illegible'] [ames ?] to come. I thought 
you would not object, and I don't know how he is in 
regard to me, and I (now don't laugh) thought him 
so creditable that you would like him to come, as 
you cannot be there. Tell me all you think upon the 
subject. You cannot think how grieved I am at 
this visit. Would to God they were gone ! Your 
dear letter ! O, what a treasure ! I shall keep it, 
and read it over and over every day. I do esteem 
you and love you the better. If we go to town you 
shall hear to-night, but I hope not. I long for a 
comfortable ride. Don't leave me an instant of the 
ride. Pray don't alter in your manner to me in any 
thing, you dear Angel. I really must marry you, 
though inwardly united, and in reality that is much 
more than the ceremony, yet that ceremony would be 
a protection. O my precious darling, how often do 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

I say would to God my own husband and best 
friend and guardian was here to protect me and 
assist me, as I am sure was destined in Heaven, I 
should have nothing to fear. Let me hear again 
before you go to Southampton. If you can stay for 
the ride, Thursday, pray do. God bless you. To- 
morrow I shall sleep in comfort . . . [illegible] after 
the party to-night, and be assured of the unalterable 
attachment of your own for ever, your affectionate 
and devoted 

"Wife and darling." 1 

1 The late Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 


1807 (continued) 





ALTHOUGH the routine at Windsor was at all times 
exceedingly dull, a constant, if unhealthy, excite- 
ment was provided to the various members of the 
Royal Family by the little private intrigues and 
tracasseries in their domestic surroundings. The 
waters which appeared so calm on the surface were 
troubled in their depths by hidden currents and 
counter-currents. The whole family seem to have 
constantly lived in an atmosphere of mystery and 
concealment, and though a brother would select a 
sister (or vice versa) as an ally and confidant, there 
were " things not to be told every one," and secrecy 
was especially enjoined. 

Among some letters of the Duke of Sussex to his 
sister Amelia which found their way into General 
FitzRoy's keeping, is one written while he was on a 

visit to Lord and Lady Hertford at Ragley in 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

September of this year, 1807. It breathes an air 
of mystery and caution not only as to Amelia's 
affairs, but also as to certain other family matters in 
which he was himself playing a secret part. The 
letter which we here publish shows him in the light 
of a warm-hearted and most affectionate brother 
entirely in the confidence of Amelia, and himself 
confiding in this favourite sister who was his junior 
by ten years. The Duke, it may be mentioned, was 
at this time on unhappy terms with the lady he had 
clandestinely married, 1 and he eventually separated 
from her. 


" By this time you will have received my 
second letter, and this therefore is my third to you 
since I left Windsor, so that you see, I have not 
deceived you, my own sweet love. Yet I only had 
one letter, which appeared dated Thursday last, but 
I trust in the course of a day or two to receive 
another, which you were very right in saying would 
make me extremely happy, for you know how very 
sincerely I love you, more indeed than I can say, but 
which I am sure my actions will prove, for I would 
do anything in the world to make you happy. I have 
some reason to think our tour will at best last but 

1 See Appendix II. 

2 The late Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

three weeks, and you had better not let G. 1 leave 
Windsor till I come back, when I will make every- 
thing convenient and safe, provided you are prudent, 
but if that is not the Watchword of the day, you put 
it out of my power for to save you. It is allowed 
to a Friend to give advice and therefore I hope you 
will not think me wrong for preaching a little now 
and then. If I did not love you and wish you well 
I should not do it, and when it proceeds from a view 
of seeing you happy, and to make you an Econo- 
mist of your own Liberty I am sure the Intent is 
good, as for my own that is long gone, but one may 
derive some consolation from seeing others enjoy 
that which we cannot ourselves obtain. To me that 
is an infinite source of satisfaction, and if I could 
know you happy, my Angelic Amelia, it would be 
to me certainly an additional source of happiness. 
Pray write to me often, although I have left Windsor 
for some weeks. Its dear inhabitants are almost 
constantly present to my imagination, and among 
the foremost my little vain Amelia will guess who 
that is ! One cannot be too cautious in writing. All 
I venture to shew is that I am glad to have come 
down, but you must not expect the Cheltenham 
Waters to have produced any change for the better, 
for I am truly sorry very sorry to state that 
object has not been attained. This is all that I may 
1 Probably Gaskoin the faithful maid. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

say, and as I know it will interest you I am not wrong 
in writing it ; but pray be cautious. There are things 
not to be told every one. God bless you my own 
sweet Amelia. Pray think of me sometimes when 
you have a moment to spare, and when you are doing 
that, be assured that you are not only repaying a 

" Your truly affectionate 

"A. F." 
[Augustus Frederick ] 

" Ragley^ Sept. 6, 1807. 

" P.S. I have not written you a description of 
this place which we reached yesterday afternoon, for 
I have seen nothing of it yet; and to tell the truth 
in my hurry of yesterday I enclosed, I believe, your 
letter to Minny [Princess Mary] instead of to Miss 

This was Mary Anne Gaskoin, the faithful servant 
and trusted confidante of Amelia ; and it might have 
been the more unfortunate to make this mistake 
that she was far more in the secrets of her mistress 
than was Princess Mary. 

It must be confessed that her brother Augustus's 
good advice was not heeded by his sister Amelia, 
and Prudence was not " the watchword of the day." 

" Conscious innocence," says Mrs. Villiers, (and no 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

one knew better than she), "made the Princess not 
pause to consider the opinion of the .World, and she 
gloried in her attachment to so honourable and 
upright a person as was Charles FitzRoy." Her 
sisters some at least of whom had good reason to 
evade the censure of the world begged Mrs. 
Villiers to caution Amelia, while they attached far 
more importance to les convenances than to actual 
misbehaviour, as to which indeed they were 
charitably lenient or indifferent. 

" I was often requested by the other Princesses," 
says Mrs. Villiers in a letter from which we have 
already quoted, 1 " to speak to Princess Amelia on the 
subject and to advise her to be more prudent. That 
was all they wished. They never pretended to object 
to the attachment (indeed, as all had been at some 
period of their lives in the same category, it would 
have been difficult for them to have done so), and I 
also heard from many members of the family, what 
was afterwards told me by the Princess Amelia her- 
self, that the first letter that was passed between 
her and General FitzRoy was conveyed by the 
Princess Elizabeth. So often as I was desired to 
interfere, so often did I say with truth, that the 
Princess Amelia herself never having alluded to the 

1 To her daughter Lady Theresa Lewis. The late Sir 
Villiers Lister's Papers. 

12 131 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

subject with me, it would be quite impossible for me 
to begin it with her, so I positively declined 
doing so." 

It will be seen that Princess Amelia's attitude of 
reserve with Mrs. Villiers on the subject next her 
heart was shortly to be exchanged for one of com- 
plete confidence in the autumn of this year, 1807. 



1807 (continued] 


A MONTH after the Duke of Sussex's somewhat 
mysterious letter to Amelia, the Queen, writing to 
her old friend Lord Harcourt a letter dated Oct. 
5, 1807 (published in the Harcourt Papers)?- 
describes the state of positively bucolic contentment 
of the royal party at Windsor. We suspect that the 
Queen wished to depict a scene more peaceful than 
the reality warranted. She prefaces this descrip- 
tion by some sprightly remarks she was ever a 
more lively letter writer than conversationalist to 
the effect that she is philosophically resigned to 
' Yes and No " being the answers she " experiences 
daily," but we doubt if she had ever made an effort 
to establish an intimacy with her children. 

She says, " You may apply our stile (sic) of life 
thus : 

1 Vol. VI. p. 89. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

' They eat, they drank, they slept, what then ? 
They slept, they eat, they drank again.' 

Yet after I have said this, though we are not la 
bande joyeuse we are la bande contente, et c'est 
beaucoup dire en pen de mots."' " C'est beaucoup 
dire ! " But with due deference to her Majesty, 
"c'est trap dire." The members of her family 
were far from forming a contented whole. And 
certainly there was one passionate young creature 
in this august family who yearned for a different 

Only a few weeks after the Queen's description 
of this placid contentment supposed to be reigning 
in the palace, a violent domestic disturbance broke 
out among its inmates. 

It was now over four years since the first com- 
motion in May 1803, caused by Miss Gomme's com- 
munication to the Queen respecting Princess Amelia 
and General FitzRoy. That was as nothing to the 
bomb now hurled from the same quarter in October 
1807, and exploding amid general consternation. 
" Outrageous ! " is the epithet freely applied to all 
concerned. Miss Gomme and Miss Goldsworthy 
had been rendered " outrageous " by anonymous 
letters accusing them of winking at the intimacy of 
Princess Amelia with General FitzRoy. They 
thereupon made reckless statements accusing the 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Queen of connivance, even declaring that she had 
sanctioned the promise of marriage "the moment 
the King was dead" 

These impudent accusations, together with the 
presumption of the governesses, rendered her 
Majesty equally "outrageous," the more so, per- 
haps, as there may have been considerable truth in 
them. So far the Queen's anger was in Amelia's 
favour, the Queen, in consequence of her indigna- 
tion with these ladies, inclining to support her 
daughter warmly, although she did not dare to do 
so openly. In what agitation and distress of mind 
did Amelia write the following to her "own true 
love " 

" God only knows, my ever blessed and beloved 
Angel, if I have power to write for I am exhausted, 
and my soul harrowed up with the feelings I have 
had roused this day. I had just sealed my letter 
to you when F. [the Duke of York] entered, who I 
had seen half-an-hour ago before in the passage, 
saying he was coming to me. I thought he had come 
to talk of my affairs, when he shut the door and 
said, ' I have something to say. All is well now, 
but there has been a sad row about you and F. R., 

owing to a d d Miss Gomm; and the Q has 

behaved most nobly, for as hurt and outrageous 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

as yourself she has sent me to the Tower Lodge 
to speak to her, and to represent the improper con- 
duct she has shewn/ I then urged to know all 
particulars as follows : Saturday Miss G. wrote 
to beg to see Eliza [Princess Elizabeth] and she 
[Miss G.] came [to Princess E.] to say that it was 
time still to save Princess A. [Amelia] who was all 
but ruined that all the world talked of General 
F.R. and Princess Amelia's behaviour the Queen 
connived at it, and had sanctioned the promise of a 
marriage the moment the K. was dead that the 
Q. was equally ruined and that General F.R. was 
always with me in my room, and that I took that 
room, she was sure, to have him, for he was seen 
always coming up and going out at particular 
hours. Elizabeth refused taking the message, say- 
ing she would consider of it, that she pitied me, 
and that, as for our meeting, that was false, as my 
rooms, and where they are, were the most difficult 
to get at, there being no outlet that she hated be- 
traying confidence, but mischief had been made 
some time ago and that I had spoken to F. 
[Frederick] and therefore whatever was to be said 
should be told to him. That she refused, saying 
if E. refused to speak to the Q. that the K. and 
Her [the Q.] both should be got at. Having re- 
called to Miss Gomm the Q.'s words four years ago 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

when she lamented it had been named to her and 
forbid Miss Gomm ever naming it again she 
[Miss G.] still persisted; and last night Eliza carried 
the message to the Q. saying (as I hear she said) 
that she [herself] acted dishonourably in doing it 
unknown to me, but she could not help it. Upon 
which the Q. was outrageous and said she should 
speak to Fk. [Frederick] but that she thought it 
the height of infamy her being accused of deceiving 
the K. and ruining her child she could not forgive. 
Fk. then saw her and she said she had no fault to 
find with either of us [Amelia and FitzRoy] since 
she first spoke to him, except our always playing 
together. Fk. told her I was wretched that kind- 
ness might save me, but harshness would lead me 
to some sad step ; but that my attachment was fixed 
and never could change, and, if we acted as we 
lately had, no one had a right to find fault. The 
Q. said ' I will support her and her family must.' 
He said both Miss G. and Gooly [Goldsworthy] 
were outrageous with him and told him every one 
spoke of it, and they had letters on the subject. 
F. advised my writing to the Q. which I did, send- 
ing you the copy of all I hope you will approve. 
I said [to Frederick] I considered myself married 
to you, and the answer he made was . . . [illegible] 
' a time will come when you may do as you please 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

and the Q. will be your friend, but don't say so to 
her, as this has offended her so much, her being said 
to have deceived the K.' 

' You may imagine all I have suffered. My 
sisters appear to feel for me and are very angry. 
Mary kisses them [Gomme and Goldsworthy] yet 
pities them, and says as my sister she must support 
me, but she loves them and never is ill with them. 
If they take you to any other table [to play cards] 
either go away or be very silent and say as you once 
said you told Moggy [Mary] how you feel not being 
with me. I love you much much more dearly than 
ever. It has occurred to me whether it would not 
be a good plan for you to name it in the greatest 
confidence to ' Tant mieux,' [Mrs. Villiers] saying 
I was ignorant of it, for you know, though I lived 
near, I never talked about the subject to her but 
to shew her how I have been loved. This may be 
foolish in me, but do you think it over. I longed 
to explain myself to-night seeing you in that way 
was more cruel than ever only increases the villany 
of Miss G. and G. I could not have supposed it 
possible. If the Q. had been harsh I should have 
quitted this house before night, not even should 
you have known where I was, much as I wished for 
you, that I might not draw you in. My mind is on 
the rack. You must always suppose you are to 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

play with me. Your dear letter was indeed a com- 
fort to me. How dear and kind is all you say ! 
About my money matters : you are quite right 
that Mrs. Doyley is Mrs. Williams's sister, 1 the 
children at Kew are some orphans. 2 I took one of 
a labourer, another a poor soldiers child, and a little 
girl of an old nursery maid we had. 

" I find the Q. did not speak to Gooly to-night. 
I shall never now conceal my misery from her [the 
Queen], and when you are absent more than ever. 
My dear Angel, I am so full of you. I shall go 
mad if I don't see you before you go ! Pray God 
we may ride Wednesday ! I have so much to say 
to you. Never check yourself now with me. We 
are married. 3 Every thought and sorrow we must 
impart to each other. It is our only consolation. 
Tell Ld. Euston 4 all this. Pray God we may ride 
to-morrow, for I have not [owned] and shall not own 
you know it yet, as they added they hoped I should 
be prudent as to Tuesday afternoon, for fear of 

1 Mrs. Williams was her nurse. 

2 See page 159. 

3 She means in spirit. 

4 General FitzRoy's cousin; son of his uncle the Duke of 
Grafton, married to Lady Charlotte Maria Waldegrave daughter 
of H.R.H. the Duchess of Gloucester by her first husband Earl 
Waldegrave. Lord Euston succeeded in 1811 as fourth Duke of 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

accidents. I don't know whether to beg you not 
to move to-night [at cards] as if you are ordered to 
Eliza's table, you could say you had the headache 
and begged to be excused for fear of its being 
supposed you knew it, as my Sisters expect me to 
tell it [you]." 

It was at this crisis that the barrier of Princess 
Amelia's reserve broke down, and she confided for 
the first time in her friend " Theresa " Villiers, 
"Tant mieux," whom she had already suggested 
General FitzRoy should make his confidante. 

" One day," relates Mrs. Villiers in her letter * to 
her daughter, " on entering Princess Amelia's room 
I found her drowned in tears and apparently in a 
state of great agony of mind. Considering the 
terms of affection on which we were living, it was 
impossible for me not to ask most anxiously for the 
cause. She threw herself into my arms saying she 
could no longer bear to be silent with me on the 
subject nearest to her heart, that I had probably long 
been aware of the attachment subsisting between 
her and General FitzRoy, though she herself had 
forborne to name it to me from the fear of placing 
me in an awkward situation with the rest of the 
family, but that now she could keep silence no 

i The late Sir Villiers Lister's Papers. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

longer, for she had been tormented and insulted 
that morning past all human endurance on that sub- 
ject by those two old women, Miss Goldsworthy and 
Miss Gomme (ci-devant Sub -Governesses to the 
Princesses); that they had threatened to expose her 
to the Queen, &c., &c. (These old women had 
known for years all that was going on, but never 
tried to stop it as they might have done at first 
but having just then heard remarks made on this 
intimacy by others they became alarmed lest they 
should themselves be in disgrace with the Queen.) 
The poor Princess said she felt as if her heart would 
break if she did not open it to me. She then told 
me all the rise and progress and unchangeableness 
of this attachment. I stayed with her for hours, 
and of course did all I could to soothe and quiet 
her, and make her less violent against those old 
women I acknowledged to her in reply to her 
questions that I had very frequently been spoken to 
on the subject by most of her brothers and sisters, 
that I had very often been urged to recommend 
prudence to her when riding, walking, dancing or 
anywhere that the intimacy could be remarked upon. 
She was the most open, guileless creature that ever 
lived, quite unfit for a Princess, as she often felt, 
and in reply to this advice of her sisters, only 

laughed at the idea of Prudence. She said General 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

FitzRoy was the most noble and honourable of men, 
that she gloried in her attachment to him, was proud 
of him, and that as she never did anything to be 
ashamed of she would practise no deceit; that she 
had long been engaged to marry him, and was 
determined to fulfil that engagement whenever the 
King died. That they had agreed never to declare 
this during the King's lifetime lest it should vex 
him, though she often doubted if he would be 
annoyed when she saw how invariably he put her 
under General FitzRoy's care. Before I left her I 
told her that I had repeatedly assured all her sisters 
that she had never named the subject to me, and that 
I had on those grounds declined all they had wished 
me to do, that I now thought her best policy would 
be to allow me to tell them that she had broached 
the subject to me and what had been the cause of it, 
that I felt I could render her more service by doing 
this myself than by letting them find it out in other 
ways which they would be quite sure to do as even 
walls had ears in that Palace. She objected to this 
at first, but afterwards admitted the expediency of 
it, being well assured that I would never betray 
anything that she wished to conceal. Accordingly 
I went the next day again to the Castle and I told 
the Princesses Elizabeth, Mary, and Sophia of the 

conversation that had passed between the Princess 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Amelia and me, and I took the opportunity of urging 
them to speak to Miss Goldsworthy and Miss 
Gomme to prevent their being again so insolently 
and so uselessly tormenting to the Princess Amelia 
about an attachment which they perfectly well knew 
had then existed nine years, having begun before she 
was 1 8 years old." 



1807 (continued) 




IN spite of the Queen's being "outrageous," her 
caution prevailed over her wrath. 

She feared making enemies of persons so long 
and so intimately acquainted with Court secrets, as 
were the Misses Gomme and Goldsworthy, and 
there were others in the background who had insti- 
gated the governesses' conduct. One Court lady 
in particular was a snake in the grass, as we shall 
see by the Duke of York's letter, and the Queen 
no doubt feared her as such. 

Above all, the Queen dreaded the King being 
" got at," for if he should now discover that things 
had been long kept from his knowledge, it would 
not only " render him miserable, but would cause a 
breach in the whole family" Never should it be said 
that she had connived at her daughter's marriage, 
however much (as the Duke of York implied) she 

might secretly tolerate the lovers. She accordingly 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

wrote to Amelia the following letter of mild advice, 
administered with the usual platitudes and appeals 
to Providence 


" I have just read your letter which the Duke 
of York gave me yesterday, and I am glad to find 
that you are satisfied with the manner in which he 
has transacted that affair about Miss Gomm's ill- 
judged conduct. I do not justify the manner in 
which she has persisted in this business, but I am 
convinced that when she originally spoke she meant 
it as a kindness towards you, considering your 
ignorance of the World, and also as a proof of her 
duty towards me never to know of anything which 
might be detrimental to the character of any of my 
Daughters without informing me of it, as She was 
put about them as a trusty person. This last 
appears officiousness, as she is so little in the way of 
seeing what passes, and certainly could not arise 
from her own observations. Therefore she must 
have been instigated by others, and in choosing your 
Sisters to be the bearer of such message was I 
am sorry to say not corresponding with her usual 
prudence. And now I have said this I must 

1 The late Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 
K H5 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

beseech you to subdue your anger about her and not 
allow yourself to speak against her. You better 
endeavour to forget her entirely than to say that 
against her which may upon reflection render your- 
self unhappy. 

"As to yourself, my dear Amelia, a moment's 
reflexion will show you how easy it is to incur the 
censure of the* world, and how necessary it is to 
watch our conduct every hour of our life. Nay 
even those of our sex who have been fortunate 
enough to be set up as great examples for female 
Conduct must struggle hard to keep it up, as the 
smallest deficiency will give scope to severe Criti- 
cism, and the higher it has pleased Providence to 
place us in this World the more is required of us, 
as we are to serve as an example to many. 

" In you my dear Amelia I have allowed much 
for your youth, ignorance of the World, and a con- 
sideration for the indulgence you have met with 
during a long series of ill-health, which both affection 
and humanity led myself and those about you to 
yield to at that time, and which none of your sisters 
were ever allowed to enjoy. You are now begin- 
ning to enter into years of discretion and will I 
do not doubt see how necessary it is to subdue at 
once every Passion in the beginning, and to con- 
sider the impropriety of indulging any impression 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

which must make you miserable, and be a disgrace 
to yourself and a misery to all who love you. Add 
to this the melancholy situation of the King at this 
present moment, who could he be acquainted of what 
has passed would be rendered miserable for all his 
life, and I fear it would create a breach in the whole 
family. You seem by your letter so much inclined 
to get the better of this unfortunate indulgence that 
I am truly inclined to believe you sincere and shall 
not cease to offer my sincere prayers to the Almighty 
of giving you strength of mind to overcome it. But 
remember my dearest Amelia that not your wishing 
alone, but your willing it must do much for you, for 
Providence is always ready to assist those who im- 
plore His mercy, but He gave us Reason to choose 
the Good and the Bad. That you may always make 
choice of the former is and will be the constant 
prayer of 

' Your ever affectionate Mother and friend, 


" The 22nd X^- 1807." 

A somewhat curious letter under all the circum- 
stances; for, admitting the plausibility of these 
counsels of perfection, it was surely rather late in 
the day for the Queen to advise her daughter to 
subdue passion in the beginning, or to check an 

K 2 I 47 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

"impression" which the Queen well knew had 
existed for years ! 

"Whether," says Mrs. Villiers, 1 continuing her 
narration of these incidents, "the Princesses did 
ever take any steps to prevent a recurrence " [i.e. of 
Miss Gomme and Miss Goldsworthy's interference] 
I never knew. Certain it is that they [these ladies] 
did not desist; that they did actually go and com- 
plain to the Queen of what they called Princess 
Amelia's misconduct, and did convey the most angry 
and unkind messages from the Queen to the Princess 
Amelia, whose health was already visibly and fear- 
fully declining. She was in the daily habit of con- 
fiding her sorrows to me, though we did not then 
live under the same roof, I being then at Cranbourne 
Lodge. I found her one day perfectly overwhelmed 
with annoyance after a visit from those old women. 
She told me she felt poussee a bout and was making 
up her mind to leave the Castle with General Fitz- 
Roy, marry him directly and take her chance of 
forgiveness. She was of a very resolute disposition, 
and I greatly feared she would act up to what she 
said. I reasoned with her for a long while but 
should probably not have succeeded if I had not put 
before her what would be her feelings of remorse, 

1 Letter to Lady Theresa Lewis. The late Sir Villiers 
Lister's Papers. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

if, as more than probable, such a shock as this would 
be to the King produced a return of insanity. She 
was the most devoted and affectionate of daughters 
to him, and this touched her. She embraced me 
tenderly, told me I had conquered, and that she 
would not take this step, though she thought her life 
would be the sacrifice as indeed it proved to be." 



1807 (continued?) 






BUT Amelia was determined not to let the matter 
drop without protest, nor to allow scandal to make 
free with her good name. What hurt her most of 
all was that her sisters made light of the injurious 
reports, although, at the same time, they appeared 
to suppose her guilty. In her indignation she wrote 
to her beloved Charles, entreating him for God's 
sake to write her some strong refutation, some 
vindication of her character that she could show to 
her brother Frederick, "who must respect you 
for it, and, seeing it, will consider it real and 
not merely say as he says to me ' Why Charles 
knows how sincere you are to him, and it is only 
extremely fussy.' Let me have it in the course of 
to-morrow. I wish to speak to him Saturday upon 
the subject, and don't be angry at my asking this 
favour of you." 1 

1 The late Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

She directs him to write something in the follow- 
ing strain, and adds " Make it as strong as you 

can "- 

" Painful as it is to me my ever dearest Amelia, 
to address a letter to you on such a subject, I feel 
it my duty from these ties that have so long existed 
between us and which you have given me a right 
to, and which nothing can alter but our death. 
Dear as you are to me you cannot wonder, after the 
confidence you have reposed in me, my feeling 
every circumstance that regards you more than that 
that regards me, and I firmly believe we both feel 
this mutually. Judge then how anything injurious 
to you and above all to your blessed virtue and 
character is galling to myself. I have swallowed 
as you know many a bitter pill, I have concealed 
nothing from you, and your confidence in me never 
will be betrayed, as it has given me additional con- 
fidence in you. But conceive what my feelings are 
at seeing those persons that are injurious to you 
courted and allowed to be in a House where they 
have done everything that is injurious your family 
knew it. They may think they screen it by their 
actions, but the world is not to be duped, and agoniz- 
ing as it is to me, I think it is just to warn you 
and tell you not only anonymous letters, as you 
know, have I had, but it has even been hinted to 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

me and not long ago. I feel for you as everything 
most sacred and dear, but let me implore you to 
consider well what I say, and to shew you feel your 
character is injured. How can a Sister who knows 
it ever either name or allow such a scandal ! Is it 
not the greatest injury that can be done you? I 
know your heart and your principles." 

Albeit gentlemanlike and chivalrous in the highest 
degree as was General FitzRoy, we shall find on a 
future occasion, when his own interests were con- 
cerned, that he was not of a nature sufficiently enter- 
prising to take the initiative in matters requiring 
prompt action, but in the present instance we 
may be certain that he did not hesitate to write 
as his Amelia desired and " made it as strong as he 

From a letter of the Duke of York 1 written a 
little later it is clear that Lady Georgiana Buckley 
had been the instigator of Miss Gomme; more- 
over, that she had actually attempted an interview 
with the King of whom she was a favourite 
god-daughter; but her intention had been frus- 
trated, doubtless by the vigilance of the Queen. 
It would appear also that she was the authoress 
of the anonymous letters which had been going 

1 The late Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers, 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 


' Your very kind letter did not reach me 
yesterday till the very moment that I was under the 
necessity of setting off to join the party at Kew. 
It was therefore out of my power to acknowledge 
it immediately or to assure you how sensible I am 
of your confidence and how fully I enter into all 
your feelings. That Lady Georgiana continuing 
in the family must be unpleasant to you, in one 
sense, I can easily conceive; on the other hand if 
I can believe what both Augusta and Ernest apprise 
me, that her staying is at her own particular desire, 
and that she has not been pressed either directly 
or indirectly to beg to make her resignation, I con- 
fess that I am inclined to think that perhaps it is 
as well as it is; particularly as I am convinced she 
will not stay long in the family; as God knows to 
what extremity her violence and revengeful dis- 
position would not have induced her to go; and 
though she said that had she seen the King she 
never intended to have done more than thank him 
generally for his graciousness and kindness towards 
her, yet after the number of falsehoods which she 
has told in this unpleasant business, who could 
depend upon her ! What has passed must have 
hurt her pride not a little, and having begged to 
stay, after all she has said, must very much diminish 
if not totally take away any belief in what she 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

may hereafter choose to give out, should she, as 
I have no doubt that she will, retire from the 
Family. I am very sorry for the violence of 
Ernest's [Duke of Cumberland] conduct which you 
mention, and think it highly unfair and improper. 
I should, however, recommend to you to cut him 
very short, if he began to speak to you upon any 
subject belonging to this; and I can have no objec- 
tion to your telling him fairly that you will tell it 
to me, as you are sure that I will not let you be 
worried or ill-treated. 

"We will talk all this over next Thursday when 
I come to Windsor, but pray let not all this prey 
upon your mind, but be convinced that you have 
friends who will do everything in their power to 
assist you. God bless you, and believe me ever, 
" Dearest Amelia, 

" Your affectionate, 


Lady Georgiana Buckley and her sister Lady 
Matilda Wynyard were ladies-in-waiting on the 
Princesses. They were daughters of John, second 
Earl De La Warr by his marriage with Mary 
daughter of General John Wynyard. With regard 
to the elder of the two sisters, Lady Georgiana, 
we may say here that when she eventually retired 
from Court she gave out that "Queen Charlotte 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

never forgave her for conniving at the marriage 
of Princess Amelia and General FitzRoy." x ,This 
is the tradition handed down to her descendants, 
and it would thus appear that she was a lady 
of strong imagination and of varying moods. Cer- 
tainly at one time or another she was on friendly 
terms with Princess Amelia, for she possessed a 
miniature of the Princess with a plait of her hair, 
and it is now in the possession of her great grandson. 
The younger sister, Lady Matilda, who had 
married her cousin General William Wynyard, an 
equerry to the Duke of Cumberland, was a devoted 
and unvarying friend of Princess Amelia and a 
lady of "a peculiarly truthful integrity of 
character." 2 A most affectionate letter from Lady 
Matilda to Princess Amelia is among General Fitz- 
Roy's papers. In it she speaks in warmest terms 
of the kindness she has received from the Princess, 
and alludes to the "jealousy" of her sister Lady 
Georgiana. It was clearly jealousy which was at 
the bottom of Lady Georgiana's unwarranted be- 
haviour in all this " unpleasant business." 

1 Information kindly supplied by Major Buckley of New 

2 Quotation from a MS. autograph letter of Princess 
Sophia Matilda of Gloucester written to Miss Sophy 
Wynyard, February 5, 1843, on the death of Lady Matilda 
Wynyard, which letter is now in the possession of Colonel 
Darner Wynyard. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Although Princess Elizabeth had been, as we 
have seen, the most prominent among the sisters 
throughout an episode so painful to the sensitive 
Amelia, we gather from a letter written by Prin- 
cess Mary to her sister Amelia a few days before 
Christmas in this year (1807) that Amelia, hurt, or 
at least dissatisfied, with the part Mary had played 
towards her, was not on the old terms of intimacy 
and affection with this sister. 

It was the custom of the Royal Family, according 
to the requirements of the Church of England, to 
partake of the Holy Communion at Christmas, and 
due preparation was made for this by the more con- 
scientious members. As Christmas approached 
Princess Mary, fearing that she and Amelia were 
not living in that complete Christian charity requisite 
for the right participation in the Sacred Ordinance, 
wrote * on December 21 

" I cannot see Christmas Day approach, and the 
awful ceremony we are all to partake of without 
troubling my dearest Amelia with a few lines to 
represent to her my feelings upon this occasion, and 
as this is dictated by a heart seriously interested 
in whatever concerns her real welfare I hope and 
indeed believe she will take it as it is meant; for 
it is perfectly out of my power to approach the 

1 The late Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Communion table till I have represented how 
deeply, how keenly, I have felt the very great 
alteration in your manner towards me for some time. 
I cannot suppose anyone could have been so much 
my Enemy as to injure me in your eyes nor am I 
inclined to believe it as I do not feel after the 
number of years we have loved each other you could 
be so easily blinded or led away. The more I think 
of it the more it hurts me, but be assured if you 
will but tell me your reasons, and I find I have in 
the smallest thing acted unfairly by you, and as a 
Sister and Friend ought not to do, I shall be but 
too ready to acknowledge I am in the wrong as no 
one will feel more mortified to hurt you than I 
should. I have little to add as I would not take 
up more of your time than necessary particularly 
as this week every spare moment will of course be 
dedicated to more important use. 

"May Heaven protect you, dearest Amelia, and 
far and near, and in every situation in life remember 
you will ever find me your most attached sister and 

" Affectionate, 

" MARY. 

" Thursday morning the 
list of December, 1807." 

We may here appropriately append a letter of 
Princess Amelia (or rather a duplicate of one) which 
she addressed a few months later to Miss Golds- 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

worthy, the beloved "Gooly" of Princess Mary. 
This duplicate was forwarded to General FitzRoy, 
and remained among his papers. The tone of it is 
characteristic of the sincerity as well as the right 
feeling of the writer. Too sincere to pretend that 
she could forget what she considered an injury, 
she was ever ready to forgive one. 

" DEAR Miss GoLoswoRTHY, 1 

;< You must allow me to return you my thanks 
for your enquiries after me during my illness, and 
hearing you have requested to resign, I avail myself 
of this opportunity of wishing you may enjoy health 
and happiness, for notwithstanding all I have 
suffered from the past within the last few months, I 
still ever retain a proper sense of your care and 
kindness in former times and my good wishes will 
ever attend you, and 

" I remain, 

" Your sincere friend, 


" April 4, 1808." 

1 The late Honourable Mrs. VV. Lowther's Papers. 










IT should not be supposed that Princess Amelia's 
thoughts were so wholly engrossed by her romantic 
attachment as to exclude all mental occupations or 
interest in her fellow creatures. Painting and music 
continued to be occupations congenial to her taste, 
and she attained considerable proficiency in both. 
She is said to have had a " classical taste " in paint- 
ing and to have had " few rivals on the pianoforte." 
Volumes of her music passed into the hands of 
General FitzRoy and were inherited with his papers 
by their present owner. 

But her keenest interests were bestowed on philan- 
thropic objects, and few young ladies of her genera- 
tion were more " indefatigable in performing the 
duties of humanity and benevolence " to use the 
language of a contemporary "and the sympathy 
with which her acts of this nature were performed 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

was not less soothing and gratifying than the actual 
tribute of her kindness." It will be remembered that 
she alluded to orphans whom she fostered at her 
own expense. " She caused them to be educated," 
says Mr. Hone in his Every Day Book, 1 "and 
placed them out to business, by learning which they 
might acquire the means of gaining their subsistence 
in comfort and respectability. They occasionally 
visited her, and to one of them she was peculiarly 
attached. Her Royal Highness placed her with 
Mrs. Bingley her dressmaker in Piccadilly. In this 

'. . . she flourished, 

Grew sweet to sense and lovely to the eye ; 
Until at length the cruel spoiler came, 
Pluck 'd this fair flower and rifled all its sweetness, 
Then flung it like a loathsome weed away. ' ' 

' The seduction of this young female," continues 
Mr. Hone, " deeply afflicted the Princess, and she 
addressed a letter to her, written throughout by her 
own hand, which marks her reverence for virtue and 
her pity for one who diverged from its prescriptions. 
It is in the possession of the Editor" [W. Hone, 
1838] . . . "who publishes it as a public memorial 
of her worth ... of her high principles and affec- 
tionate disposition." 

The letter is here transcribed 

1 Vol. I. p. 1072. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

" The accounts I have received of you, my poor 
Mary, from Mrs. Bingley have given me the greatest 
concern, and have surprised me as well as hurt me ; 
as I had hoped you were worthy of the kindness you 
experienced from Mrs. Bingley, and were not 
undeserving of all that has been done for you. Much 
as you have erred, I am willing to hope, my poor 
girl, that those religious principles you possessed 
are still firm, and that they will, with the goodness of 
God, show you your faults, and make you to repent 
and return to what I hoped you were a good and 
virtuous girl. You may depend on my never for- 
saking you, as long as I can be your friend. Nothing 
but your conduct not being what it ought to be can 
make me give you up. Forget you I never could. 
Believe me, nothing shall be wanting on my part to 
restore you to what you were, but you must be honest 
open and true. Make Mrs. K. who is so sincerely 
your well-wisher, your friend. Conceal nothing from 
her, and, believe me, much as it may cost you, at 
the moment, to speak out, you will find relief after- 
wards, and I trust it may enable us to make you end 
your days happily. 

:< To Mrs. Bingley and all with her, you never can 
sufficiently feel grateful. Her conduct has been that 
of the kindest mother and friend, and, I trust, such 
friends you will try to preserve; for, if with pro- 
priety they can continue their kindness to you, it will 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

be an everlasting blessing for you : but after all that 
has happened, my dear Mary, I cannot consent to 
leaving you there. Though, I trust from all I hear, 
your conduct now is proper, and will continue so, 
yet, for the sake of the other young people, it must 
be wrong; and if you possess that feeling and repent, 
as I hope you do, you cannot but think I am right. 
I trust you feel all your errors, and with the assist- 
ance of God you will live to make amends; yet your 
conduct must be made an example of. The misfor- 
tune of turning out of the right path cannot be too 
strongly impressed on the minds of all young people. 
Alas ! you now know it by experience. All I say I 
feel doubly from wishing you well. Be open and 
true, and whatever can be done to make you happy 
will. Truth is one of the most necessary virtues, 
and whoever deviates from that runs from one error 
into another not to say Vice. I have heard you 
accused Mrs. Bingley of harshness that I conceive 
to be utterly impossible; but I attribute your saying 
so to a mind in the greatest affliction, and not know- 
ing what you are about. I pity you from my heart, 
but you have brought this on yourself and you must 
now pray to God, for his assistance to enable you 
to return to the right path. Why should you fear 
me ? I do not deserve it, and your feeling the force 
of your own faults can only occasion it ; for I feel I 

am, and wish to be, a friend to three young people I 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

have charge of and to make them fit to gain their 
own bread, and assist their families. For you I have 
felt particularly, being an orphan, and I had never 
had cause to regret the charge I had. Your poor 
parents have been saved a heavy blow. Conceive 
what their affliction must have been had they lived 
to know of your conduct. I trust my poor Mary 
may yet live to renew all our feelings of regard 
for her, and that I shall have the comfort to hear 
many good accounts of your conduct and health. 
Unless your mind is at ease you cannot enjoy 

" Be assured I shall be happy to find I have 
reason, always, to subscribe myself, 

' Your friend, 


It is impossible to read this beautiful letter with- 
out being convinced of the sincerity and the purity 
of its author ; while throughout the whole of it 
are discernible a delicacy and tenderness of feeling 
sprung, it may well be, from the writer's own wounds 
and afflictions. 

Always fond of children, Princess Amelia showed 
a special interest in Augusta d'Este, the little 
daughter of her brother Augustus Duke of Sussex. 
The Duke's marriage with Lady Augusta Murray, 1 

1 See Appendix II. 
L 2 163 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

daughter of the Earl of Dunmore, was not legal 
according to the Royal Marriage Act, and his chil- 
dren in consequence were considered illegitimate. 

A letter of Princess Amelia, published among the 
Har court Papers, must have been written in 1808 
when Augusta d'Este 1 was seven years old. She 
was at that age taken away from her mother the 
Duke of Sussex (who had formerly striven to have 
his marriage declared legal and his children legiti- 
mate) now, inconsistently enough, making it a matter 
of complaint that his children were brought up by 
their mother like a prince and princess. 

Amelia writes to Lady Harcourt 2 that honoured 
confidante of the whole family 


" You and I have had so many conversations 
upon the subject of a little girl that I should feel 
myself to blame did I not communicate to you the 
enclosed letter [to her brother Augustus] which will 
explain better than I can all I had to say upon the 
subject. You must not own to Augustus [that] I 
now write, or that you have received this letter ; but 
I thought it would prepare you for what you are 
to expect. 

1 Born in 1801, the second and last child of her parents, 
eventually married to Lord Chancellor Truro. 

2 Harcourt Papers, Vol. VI. p. 288. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

" I have written to Augustus to advise his now 
writing to you. The idea he had concerning Mrs. 
Walker will not do in any way; as besides living 
here, her health would not admit of her paying that 
attention to the child she must require. If you 
propose Mrs. Williams 1 don't you think for 
two years she had better keep the child with her 
entirely away from all her connections; and when 
Masters are required, if the allowance is sufficient, 
she might bring them up and have a lodging with 
them in Kensington? I shall inform Mama I have 
done this; but you will have the goodness to take 
no notice of it. Since writing the above I have seen 
the Queen who approves of what I have done. I 
have desired Augustus to write to you himself and 
to inform you of his plans and ideas; as everything 
in such a case must be thoroughly settled that 
nothing unpleasant may occur. Whoever has the 
child must be thoroughly au fait of every circum- 
stance ; and payment &c. must be regular. The boy 2 
will be sent elsewhere. 

" God bless you my dear Lady Harcourt. 
" Ever your affectionate friend, 


" S^mday. The little lady was only seven years 

1 Formerly nurse to Princess Amelia. 

2 Afterwards Sir Augustus d'Este. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

old yesterday, therefore Masters are not necessary 
yet. You may be sure she has been educated with 
very high ideas [of her own importance]." 

She also took an affectionate interest in the 
children of her brother William Duke of Clarence, 
though she probably had little or no opportunity of 
seeing them. A letter from the Duke shows that he 
would confide to his youngest sister the pride he felt 
in his gallant young son George FitzClarence in a 
way that he would not do to some other members of 
his family. All mention, indeed, of the offspring of 
Mrs. Jordan was treated with marked coldness by 
the King and Queen, who disliked their son's 
connection with the beautiful actress. 

The letter found its way into General FitzRoy's 
papers, 1 having probably been forwarded to him by 
Princess Amelia herself 

' Bushey House ^ 

" Siinday. 


" Having had an appointment yesterday with 
Lord Castlereagh, I did not receive your truly kind 
and affectionate letter till my arrival this instant 
here. I return you my most sincere thanks, and am 
happy to inform you that George arrived last night 

1 The late Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

in high health and spirits. He has returned, I may 
say with truth, after having established a perfect 
character with all ranks in our army. General 
Stewart, who on occasion certainly saved his life, 
speaks of my son in such terms of commendation, 
that unless writing to you I would not mention 
the circumstance. Indeed, in the event of the 
General going again, he told me he would 
rather have George 1 than any other for his Aid de 

" My love and best wishes attend all at Windsor 
who I mean to visit shortly, but at present I am 
prevented by this weather. 

" God bless you and believe me, Dearest Amelia, 
' Your most affectionate Brother, 


It will be understood that such acts of benevo- 
lence on the part of Princess Amelia as we have 
mentioned, namely her supporting and educating 
poor orphans, could not be performed without con- 
siderable expense, more especially as she would not 
be likely to carry out these philanthropic schemes 
with economy, and besides would be liable to fall 
a prey to a multitude of parasites. Moreover the 

1 Afterwards first Earl of Munster. Born in 1794, he 
was very young to be an aide-de-camp in 1808 or 1809. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Princess, who spent little on herself, was lavish in 
her gifts not only to the poor but also to various god- 
daughters and to innumerable friends. It will not 
be a matter of wonder, then, that at an early age 
the inexperienced girl had become involved in 
money difficulties, or that, on her confiding them to 
General FitzRoy, he had lent her money which she 
had the less scruple in accepting because everything 
was some day to be in common between them, 
betrothed as they were to each other, while they 
were already one in heart. 

" I have an entire conviction," relates Mrs. 
Villiers, 1 "that she never concealed from me any- 
thing that passed between her and General FitzRoy. 
She told me that he had some years before lent her 
5,000; for both she and her sisters had been 
horribly cheated when they first had their allowances 
from the country, and she had incurred great debts. 
General FitzRoy repeatedly urged her not to con- 
sider this loan from him as a debt, and never to 
repay him, as he had reckoned on everything being 
in common with them in future years. I nevertheless 
did everything in my power to induce her to repay 

1 To her daughter Lady Theresa Lewis : the late Sir 
Villiers Lister's Papers. 

1 68 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

it, and told her that if her right hand had borrowed 
from her left she ought to repay it. She agreed to 
do so by instalments of ^500 per quarter. These 
payments passed through my hands for the few 
remaining quarters of her life." 













IT was hardly to be expected in a Court where 
there were so many cabals and counter-cabals, but 
that sooner or later the King would be "got at," 
despite all the precautions of the Queen. Amelia's 
sisters probably had foreseen this when they had 
advised her to confide in " Dear " [the King] herself. 
Not only were there gossips disposed to make 
mischief, perhaps for the sheer love of it, but 
there were false and intriguing persons, like the lady 
mentioned by the Duke of York, ready to gratify 
their spite under the pretence of dutifully opening 
his Majesty's eyes. Poor King ! He was physically 
blind now. Moreover, there were intrigues which 
centred in the King's health, and there were 

many persons in the Opposition who wished nothing 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

better than that it would break down altogether. 
What then more calculated to excite and upset the 
King's brain than an agitating and harassing scene 
with his beloved youngest child ! Even in the Royal 
Family itself there was the Duke of Cumberland, 
who was never so pleased as when stirring up ill 
feeling everywhere, while the Prince of Wales 
horrid fact at times actually connived at anything 
likely to bring on a paroxysm which might render 
his father incapable of governing the kingdom. 1 We 
say "at times," for this Prince, uncertain and 
unstable as a weathercock, was incapable of pur- 
suing a settled plan or policy for long together. 

That some interview of a painful nature between 
the father and daughter, followed by a temporary 
breach, took place in the spring of 1808 appears 
certain. We may suppose how uncontrolled had 
been the distracted father's behaviour towards his 
crushed and injured daughter, when we find her 
writing of him as her "late father." Albeit there 
is no record of a breakdown of the King's mental 
powers until the final collapse at the time of his 
daughter's last days, it is clear that his immediate 
family were, even in 1808, constantly witnesses of 
unrestrained behaviour on his part which made them 
realize his insanity; and, to those who experienced 
such ebullitions, the prospect of a regency must 

1 Se FitzGerald's Life of George IV. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

have appeared imminent, although the outside world 
had no knowledge of the real state of things, the 
King being perfectly able to control himself in the 
presence of his ministers and other official person- 

The Queen and Amelia's brothers and sisters 
even those who had hitherto stood by her appear 
at this crisis in her troubles to have left her in the 
lurch, while Ernest and Eliza were always disagree- 
able to her. Thus we find her bitterly alluding to 
the unkindness of her family. 

There was one exception. She thenceforth looked 
upon the Prince of Wales as her only hope: this 
eldest brother whom she idealized the more that she 
seldom saw him and she determined to apply to 
him for his assistance (when the time should come), 
believing that she had in him not only a brother but 
also a " father and a friend." And this is not to be 
wondered at, for no one could be more tenderly 
affectionate in words and manner than the Prince 
of Wales, no one more irresistibly captivating and 
endearing. At the same time the sympathy which 
this double-faced and fascinating personage showed 
to Amelia was doubtless secretly associated with a 
feeling of satisfaction at running counter to the 
wishes of his father, while it flattered his vanity to 
patronize a " little sister " devotedly attached to 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Meanwhile this strain on the Princess's fragile 
health had been too great. She showed symptoms 
of consumption, and had to pass most of her hours 
amidst all the restraints of an invalid. During the 
intervals of convalescence she would find consola- 
tion in committing her loving thoughts and wishes 
to paper to be read by FitzRoy in the event of her 

On "April 13, 1808," she wrote (at Windsor) 1 - 


" I cannot resist trying to express, and to leave 
you, my ever dear and beloved Charles, the expres- 
sions of the fondest love and gratitude for all your 
goodness and kindness to me ever since we owned to 
each other how we loved. You will receive this when 
I am dead, if you outlive me, and I feel some grati- 
fication in leaving you this, though, my beloved, it 
will fall far short of all I feel or wish in every way. 
My memory is my only joy. No two ever loved or 
were so tried as we, and instead of separating us 
which in all others it would [have done] it has 
bound us tighter and more sacredly together. I own 
I can never help praying and hoping a time yet may 
come when the Almighty may bless and join us in 
persons, 2 as we are in hearts, ever inseparable. 

1 The late Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 

2 This is surely very significant. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Accept, my beloved, the thanks of your own darling 
wife, who died as she lived blessing you. 

' You have given me every moment of comfort 
and happiness or ease of mind I ever enjoyed. You 
have saved me in every sense. You have proved your- 
self my guide, protector, friend, husband, lover, 
father, brother, best of friends. My husband ! though, 
Alas ! the rights, from situation, I have not enjoyed, 
and though I have not been able to make you as 
happy as I wished, loving me as I know you do and 
knowing all you do of me, as I thank God I never 
deceived you in one instance, you must feel great 
satisfaction and comfort. I have been so ill that I 
was determined to write this as soon as I was equal 
to it. There are many scraps of paper all addressed 
to you, which I have written at different times, I dare- 
say I may add many more, but with this is my seal, 
and in my red box is an inventory of all the things 
in my room which are my own and therefore yours. 
I am sure you will never forget me. I feel our wishes 
are known and sanctioned in heaven; and there 
we shall meet to part no more. I solemnly declare 
the truth that you are the only person that ever 
suited me, or for whom I ever could find the 
same confidence and affection. I never could 
conceal a thought from you. I have run every 
risk to disgust you. O God ! how differently has 
it acted ! 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

"All my own things I always used, keep with 
you my all is yours except a few articles I have; 
and give what you think right as trifling remem- 
brances to my Sisters and friends. 

" Let Charlotte, 1 our dear sister, keep me in her 
recollection. The Villiers 2 who have been so very 
kind ever continue as intimate with us here. You 
know those I liked and who have been friends. 
These never forsake. Leave Court as soon as you 
can, I only am to blame in your being here, and, my 
Charles, you are too good ever to be happy here, 
and you know how little reason I had to love my 
family, or esteem them, and though I never hurt 
any one of them, they, God knows, have me in 
many ways various and cruel. Yet beware of them. 
Think what a grievous thing for a child or sister to 
say, but I do say [it] to my Charles who is my more 
than self. Take care of your dear self, and remember 
me. Gone, I shall ever watch over you, and I shall 
hope to meet your dear father ! If he knew me and 
my feelings for his beloved Charles, he would 
protect me. I have had many faults, but none to- 
wards you. O God, how I do love you ! I have liked 
you from the first I sought you, and Blessed be God 
I gained you. Each day and hour has endeared 
you to me ; accept the gratitude and affection of her 

1 His sister Viscountess Dungannon. 

2 The Hon. George Viliiers and his wife. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

who owes you everything for ever your most affec- 
tionate friend and wife. 

" I have loved you, prized and esteemed you more 
every instant. God bless you, my own dearest and 
most beloved Angel. Ever on Earth or in Heaven 
equally your attached Wife and darling. 

"A. F. R." 

Again she wrote at this time 

' You will, my own dear Charles, receive this 
when your torment is gone for ever remember, 
my own darling, since I first knew you I have never 
experienced but kindness, and be assured my affec- 
tion and esteem has only increased with my knowing 
you better. You have saved me, and so my beloved 
C. F. R. I owe you all my happiness and comfort. 
Situation has prevented my wishes being realized 
which inwardly they have long been, and I consider 
myself as your own lawful wife. May God bless you 
and make you happy. Don't forget me, and think 
of her who died blessing and loving you, and who 
lived only for you. I enclose a locket. You will 
wear the motto which I am vain enough to think will 
be true; and this paper send to Eliza or Augusta. 
I have left word you are to have what I say. God 
bless you and be assured of the gratitude and affec- 
tion of her who owes you everything." 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

No wonder that FitzRoy treasured these letters 
to the day of his death. 

A letter of Mrs. George Villiers to her brother 
Lord Boringdon l throws a sidelight on the medical 
surroundings of the poor Princess at this stage. Sir 
Francis Milman, the Court physician, who, having 
long been in attendance on all the Princesses, 
knew many family secrets, and who was especially 
in the confidence of the Queen, is the medecin 
touchant here aimed at by Mrs. Villiers's barbed 

" I must tell you a good trait of the medecin 
touchant! Very early in his attendance on poor 
Princess A. he obtained her confidence on the prin- 
cipal subject of her unhappiness by saying he feared 
something on her mind occasioned her sufferings, 
and that he only wished to be physician to her mind 
as well as body, and all that sort of palaver, and she 
opened her heart to him very much hoping he might 
be giving Jodeley [the King's nickname] to under- 
stand that her mind was more diseased than her 
body, or by remonstrance with her sisters or by some 
other means, be of use to her. He has certainly 
always shrunk from burning his fingers whenever 
she suggested anything, but the other day when she 
told him about me, &c., he played the perfect 
1 The late Sir Villiers Lister's Papers. 

M 177 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Courtier, tryed to convince her Jodeley was right, 
and ended by saying for Jodeley's sake and her own 
situation as Princess she must sacrifice herself and 
patiently bear the hardships that were imposed upon 
her ! ! ! She has written him a tickler for this though 
in the civiliest terms, only reminding him of what 
he had said, and that her opinions had not changed. 
I wonder whether in any Parliamentary records at 
Saltram, you have the Royal Marriage Act. We 
don't know where to get at it. It was made about 
the year 1771 or 2 or thereabouts. It is short, and 
if you could find it I think you would perhaps be 
so very good as to copy it for me without telling 

Princess Amelia, being twenty-five years old on 
August 7, 1808, had reached the age which entitled 
her to write to the Privy Council to announce her 
intention of marrying General FitzRoy, when 
another year should have elapsed from the time of 
her announcement, provided that Parliament did 
not express its disapprobation during that period. 

It was doubtless after duly conning over the 
precise terms of the Royal Marriage Act, 1 with the 
assistance of Mr. and Mrs. George Villiers (Lord 
Boringdon having supplied a copy of it as requested) 
that Princess Amelia decided to write to the Lord 
Chancellor desiring him to acquaint the Privy 

1 See Appendix II. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Council of her intentions ; and she also wrote to the 
Prince of Wales telling him privately what steps 
she had taken and imploring his influence and 

The following copy of her letter to the Prince of 
Wales she sent to General FitzRoy * 


"The affectionate kindness I have ever 
received from you encourages me in the hope that 
you will not forsake me at this moment, and I feel 
emboldened in addressing you as my friend and 
brother on a subject I have never out of delicacy 
named to you, but which I now feel it my duty, as 
much as my heart dictates to me as just, to explain 
to you. 

' You cannot be ignorant, I allude to the attach- 
ment that has for so many years existed between 
General FitzRoy and me, and to the trials I have 
gone through on account of not offending my late 
father, which cause has so long made me submit to 
them. I determined long ago to act as I now do, and, 
as soon as I could, to apply to you and inform you I 
am determined to marry him; and according to the 
Act made by my late Father, I find I must inform 
you and the Privy Council through the Lord Chan- 

1 The late Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 
M 2 179 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

cellor to whom I have written to inform you of it; 
and I hope, as my whole comfort depends on this 
event, that you will not be my enemy. I have long 
considered myself as to what I now wish you to 
sanction, and I own I can never be happy or easy till 
I obtain it. I hope I am not too vain in saying I 
believe our feelings are mutual. It is not a hasty 
determination of mine it is well weighed in every 
respect, and the honourable part and unvarying con- 
duct of General FitzRoy to me, proves him worthy 
of me, and I am willing to give up family and every- 
thing to devote my life to that object of my affection, 
and for whom only I value my existence. You must 
know how cruel our situation has been long, and I 
may say how unjust, and I think all who know me 
must have pitied us and rejoice in an event on 
which my happiness depends, and which unites me 
to so worthy a character as his. I hope you will 
not delay giving me an answer, and I pray God 
you may be my friend, and not forsake your sister 
here For any way how desirable a thing it is being 
united to a man of character and family ! My being 
the youngest of so large a family takes off many 
objections. In the state the continent is in, no 
settlement could happen there; besides I never 
would marry where I could not give my affections, 
and General FitzRoy possesses all my affection, 

and nothing can ever alter that; and for years have 
1 80 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

I considered myself his lawful wife, though suffer- 
ing all the trials of that, without ever enjoying my 
rights. As to what I owe him in every way, though 
I full well know and feel the extent, no human 
being can ever know it, but believe me I have 
weighed every circumstance, and it has been one 
unceasing thought and object for years, and neither 
comfort, happiness, nor health, but by marrying him 
can I obtain. This letter, as I have already 
informed you, is written to my dear Friend and 
Brother, to implore your assistance ; and your heart 
and feeling are such that I feel and hope, which I 
consider as just, that you will attend to my wishes, 
knowing the fate of her whom you have so long 
called so dear to you is now dependent on you. 
Deceive you I never will, and I think it best to tell 
you I have delayed taking any step with him from 
his peculiar position about my Father, and not to 
hurt my Father. That being removed I feel it 
owing to myself to act decidedly, and never can I 
alter in any one idea I have determined on. There- 
fore that is useless, and we should be trifling with 
each other were I to let you suppose that was 
possible. God bless you and grant you may attend 
to, and assist me in my wishes, and grant me your 

" Ever your affectionate, 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

We have already suggested a reason why she 
should speak of the King as her " late father." We 
may be sure, however, that any estrangement 
between the King and his best-beloved child did 
not last long. The King in all probability had 
never realized the extent of his ebullition or the 
effect it produced on his sensitive daughter; while 
she, who " never hurt " anybody, and who dearly 
loved her father, would readily forgive, although 
perhaps she could not forget. One thing indeed 
she could not be expected to forget that it was 
her father who had instigated the very law which 
blighted her whole life. 

It may be wondered why these devoted lovers 
did not take the law into their own hands and get 
married in defiance of it without further delay, con- 
tenting themselves as many another couple similarly 
situated, by being married in the eye of God if not 
in that of the law. It may be said, for one thing, 
that Charles FitzRoy as a younger son had but a 
slender fortune of his own, insufficient to support 
a portionless and disinherited Princess, while on 
forfeiting his stipend as an official at Court, he 
would be still less in a position to marry. Nor should 
it be forgotten that those officiating at, and all 
witnesses of, a marriage in defiance of the Royal 
Marriage Act were guilty of felony. But the chief 

reason why no marriage took place was that this 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

high-souled daughter sacrificed herself on the altar 
of filial devotion, lest her own happiness should 
bring misery to her father by totally deranging 
his already partially unhinged mind. Time and 
patience could alone remove the cruel obstacles 
which barred the way to the attainment of her hopes 
and desires. 

Meanwhile Amelia's thoughts did not cease to 
dwell on a legal marriage as the ultimate goal to be 
obtained. An extract from a dissertation on the 
marriage state which she wrote at this time may be 
inserted here. 1 

" Marriage, that dear blessed and sacred Vow, 
makes it our duty to endeavour to correct each 
other's faults and to render the road to virtue more 
smooth and easy to each other; and this is another 
source of comfort which it opens to us Of what 
efficacy ought not the example, the advice, the 
exhortations and prayers to be between persons so 
closely united and filled with esteem and love for 
each other. We should act as guides and supports 
to each other, in overcoming temptations; and to 
encourage each other in a course of piety and virtue. 
May my blessed Charles and I never forget it was 
to Thee, O God, and through Thee we first 
promised to be kind, constant, and true; that these 

1 The late Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

blessed vows and feelings are not to be sported 
with, nor their obligations profanely cast away. A 
persuasion of this is the firmest bulwark of virtue, 
and the surest foundation of mutual happiness and 
comfort. May we C. F. R. and A. F. R. never 
neglect to pray for Thy blessing on our mutual 
connection ; may we united together in mutual affec- 
tion pour out our prayer as the offering of one heart 
to Thee (who art Love itself, and the rewarder of 
those that love Thee) as the highest satisfaction 
which we can fancy or realize, and where life in 
other circumstances would be a burden, it will not 
be felt as such, divided between us, and we shall 
pass this life blessing and blest to meet again in 
another world never to separate any more." 





WE may now refer briefly to an unhappy transaction 
which cast a deep shadow over the whole family 
towards the beginning of the new year. In January 
1809 they were harassed by an affair which, involv- 
ing as it did the misconduct of one of the King's 
sons and the honour of the Royal Family, occasioned 
them the keenest distress. As Amelia no doubt felt 
it all the more bitterly that she loved her brother 
Frederick dearly, a digression may not be out of 
place to explain the circumstances. 

On January 27 four days after the arrival of 
the calamitous news of the disaster of Corunna and 
the death of Sir John Moore the well-known 
charges against the Duke of York of corrupt 
practices in the administration of his power and 
patronage as Commander-in-Chief of the Army, 
were brought forward in the House of Commons. 1 

1 Our account of the scandal is abridged from Jesse's 
Memoirs of the Life and Reign of George III, Vol. III. 
PP- 5 2 2-532. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

He was not only charged with having allowed his 
mistress Mrs. Clarke to sell military commissions 
for her own advantage, but he was also alleged to 
have participated in the proceeds of her infamous 
traffic. So completely were the charges discredited 
not only by the King and his ministers, that the 
latter most unwisely insisted, in the interests of the 
Duke himself, that the inquiry should be conducted 
in the most open and public way possible. " It was 
obvious," Sir Samuel Romilly points out, " that such 
a proceeding must be most mischievous to the Duke. 
Though no violation of the law might be established 
against him, yet the mere exposing to the public that 
he who was mistakenly supposed by most persons 
to be leading a moral, decent and domestic life, was 
entertaining at great expense a courtesan, the wife, 
too, of another man, and a woman who had risen 
from a very low situation in life, could not fail to 
do him irreparable mischief in the public estima- 
tion." During nearly two months that the Parlia- 
mentary inquiry lasted the House of Commons, day 
after day, presented a discreditable scene. The 
spectacle of a fashionably dressed courtesan con- 
stantly presenting herself at the Bar of Parliament 
for the purpose of implicating the second Prince of 
the Blood, the Commander-in-Chief of the British 
Army, and entertaining the House of Commons 

with her profligate confessions and repartees, was 
1 86 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

without parallel. In the meantime, the state of the 
Royal Family was greatly to be pitied. " I hear," 
writes Lord Bulkeley to the Marquis of Bucking- 
ham, 1 "the Royal Family, excepting the King, is 
overwhelmed with despair at the Duke of York's 
business. The Queen very ill and two of the 
Princesses dying; the Duke of York, I am told by 
those who have seen him since, is quite sunk under 
it." The King, stoical as he appeared to be, evi- 
dently suffered no less than the other members of 
his family. The circumstance of his eldest son 
standing aloof at a time when so threatening a cloud 
was hanging over his family, seems to have especi- 
ally affected him. The Prince had at first sup- 
ported the Duke of York, but no sooner had public 
opinion turned against the latter than, greatly 
alarmed less the share of the odium might fall upon 
himself, he disparaged his brother in the most open 
way, and declared his intentions to stand aloof. 
The King "in great agony of mind" sent to urge 
him to reconsider his determination. The Queen 
also wrote to the Prince to the same effect. 
The honour of the Royal Family, she said, as 
well as the health and perhaps the life of the 
King, were in his hand. The Prince, however, was 
not to be diverted from the resolution he had 

1 Buckingham Papers, Vol. IV. p. 317. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

" That the Duke of York," concludes J. H. Jesse, 
"had allowed his mistress to interfere in the award 
of military promotions and exchanges that he had 
granted commissions on her recommendations, and 
that he was cognizant of her having received money 
from those whom she had so recommended was 
placed beyond all question. But whether, on the 
other hand, he had been guilty, to use his own words 
in his letter to the Speaker, of ' a corrupt participa- 
tion in any of the infamous transactions ' which had 
been brought to light, or even whether he had been 
aware at the time, as asserted by Mrs. Clarke in her 
evidence, that the profits of her nefarious brokerage 
went towards the support of the establishment which 
he had provided for her are points on which the 
Duke certainly deserves the benefit of a doubt. At 
all events, the House of Commons adopted a charit- 
able view of the question, and exonerated him from 
the charge of personal corruption by a majority of 
eighty-two votes. The same day (March 17, 1809) 
the Duke resigned his appointment as Commander- 



1809 (continued) 




OF the two Princesses said at this time to be dying, 
the Princess Sophia (who was frequently ailing) 
recovered, but the other, Princess Amelia, was suffer- 
ing from a mortal though lingering malady. Her 
family did not, or would not, realize her state, and 
Sir F. Milman's prescriptions did her no good. 
Cupping and blistering were his principal resources. 
The Queen, who hated every change, was espe- 
cially unwilling to make any changes of doctors or 
medicines, lest the King should be alarmed. Be- 
sides, she had no real feeling for her daughter's 
illness, regarding it merely as an aggravated form 
of love-sickness. Her Majesty moreover secretly 
feared offending Sir Francis Milman, for it would 
be dangerous to offend any one who knew so 
much about the family secrets as did this family 



The Romance of Princess Amelia 

At the urgent instigation, however, of Mrs. Villiers 
the Princess asked permission to consult Dr. Pope, 
a Quaker physician of repute from Staines (" dear 
old Pope," as the Prince of Wales called him later), 
and Sir Henry Halford from London. "A hun- 
dred different contrivances," says Mrs. Villiers, 
"were resorted to to overcome the objections of the 
Queen. At last the Prince of Wales' influence was 
brought to bear on her, in a manner calculated to 
succeed in the end. . . ." 

The following extracts from letters of Mrs. 
Villiers to Lord Boringdon 1 speak for themselves. 

"Monday, March yd 1809. 

" I found Princess Amelia on Saturday evening 
pretty much the same having again been bled and 
blistered, the Prince not having been down at all, 
the senior female part of the family outrageous at 
the idea of further advice. The King had for the 
first time been to see her, and was surprised to find 
she did cough a good deal, but he has not been 
since, and the Queen not at all. I have just been 
with Princess Amelia now, and I think, if anything 
she is a little better, at least I do not think the cough 
quite so bad, but the fever returns as usual. The 
Prince comes to-morrow, and means to tell the 
Queen that he hears her so dreadfully abused by 

1 The late Sir Villiers Lister's Papers. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

everybody in London, for not calling in more assist- 
ance that he thought it right to come down and tell 
her, as he could not bear such a universal outcry 
against her, and thus to produce from fear what 
ought to arise out of common humanity." 

" Wednesday, April $th 1809. 

" Having received a longish letter from you 
this morning I must write, though I am at this 
moment so annoyed I believe it would be kinder to 
you not to plague you. 

:( You know it was a very great satisfaction to 
me to go to poor Princess Amelia every day, not 
only because from the real affection I have for her, 
I was naturally anxious to see how she was, but 
because I was happy to have it in my power to 
shew her any attention or afford her any comfort in 
return for the numberless kindnesses I have re- 
ceived from her, and therefore, however inconveni- 
ent to myself, I have gone every day. Would you 
believe it, on my road there to-day, I was met by a 
note from Lady Isabella Thynne * written by her 
Majesty's command desiring me to discontinue my 
visits as it was thought necessary by the Doctors 
to keep Princess Amelia quiet, and that she should 
see nobody but her family good people for quiet 

1 Fourth daughter of Thomas first Marquis of Bath, K.G., 
a Lady of the Bedchamber. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

to be sure ! I really am amazingly vexed at this 
on her account still more than my own as I know 
how much it will fret her, and how bad that will be 
for her. The fact is Milman probably saw I 
thought him an idiot, and his faction at the Castle 
knowing I wished Princes Amelia might be allowed 
the common advantages of good medical assistance, 
thought it well to get me out of the way, as I am 
perfectly convinced that most of the female part 
of the family heartily wish her not to recover. I 
have not heard a word from her poor soul since, 
but I suppose I shall to-night." 

" CranbournC) Thursdav, Atiril 6th 1809. 

" As I expected they have made Princess Amelia 
as much more ill as it was possible to do. I had 
two letters from her yesterday written with a degree 
of hurry and agitation that was shocking to think 
of, considering her state, and both Princess Mary 
and Princess Sophia have written me word that she 
had such an increase of cough and fever last night, 
and was so dreadfully agitated they were under 
the greatest alarm for the consequences. However 
she will pay them a trick, for the object in getting 
rid of me was to prevent my defeating Milman's 
sure method of killing her, and now she is going to 
write to the Queen to request further advice, saying 

she now finds how seriously ill she must be, as it is 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

necessary to forbid her seeing the only friend she 
cares for, and she therefore wishes to consult some 
other Physician. The Prince is not come. It is a 
want of feeling perfectly disgusting. She says her- 
self, poor thing, that she must die from the ill- 
treatment she experiences ! It really makes me 
boil with rage. And then one hears of the King 
and Queen being patterns of conjugal fidelity and 
parental affection. I am sure the Queen never had 
one grain of the latter quality in her composition 
the former I daresay she may boast of for I don't 
believe there is one person in the kingdom ever 
would have had bad taste enough to propose to her 
to be otherwise." 

" Cranbourne, April 7 th 1809. 


" Princess Amelia had rather a better night. 
She had written to the Queen to ask to see Pope. 
The Queen sent her word she would consider of it 
but has not yet sent her the result of her considera- 
tions. I retract what I said yesterday for I believe 
the Queen must have been guilty of indiscretion 
which put her in Milman's power, for else she would 
not be so afraid of him. Poor Princess Amelia's 
letters are enough to break one's heart. The Prince 
says he has spasms at his heart, and can't come, 

so his sister may die for what he cares. I can't 
N 193 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

understand that sort of fraternal affection, for, thank 
God, / never experienced it ! I have seen Pope. He 
advises a warm bath (92) every other night, a few 
(only 5) drops of antimonial wine twice a day, 
some elm-bark tea, a sweetener of the blood, and a 
little powder at night the object is to produce 
insensible perspiration, for he considers it merely 
belonging to the skin, and of no consequence." 

Mrs. Villiers evidently won the day, and received 
permission from the Queen to renew her visits to 
the Princess 

" Cranbourne, Friday. 

" I am going to see poor dear Princess Amelia 
which, much as I wish, I own I dread amazingly. 
I will finish this when I return. The inflammation 
in her side was so great yesterday that leeches were 
applied to it but though it bled profusely she does 
not appear to have been relieved. The King is 
very kind to her. Adieu till I return. 6 o'clock. 
After all I have not seen Princess Amelia. When 
I got there, besides having had Pope, the Queen 
had been with her for an hour and a half, then 
Princess Mary, then Princess Sophia, and lastly 
Princess Elizabeth. The natural consequence of 
all this was fainting, and they were obliged to 

recover her with salvolatile that she might make 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

haste to eat her dinner and enable her to receive 
the King ! If Pope does not stop this peremptorily 
she cannot last a week. I am to go to her early 

After this one is not surprised to find that the 
Princess was evidently worse, and by the middle of 
May Mrs. Villiers considered her to be in imminent 

" Saturday. 

" This fete of the Queen's 1 when Princess Amelia 
is really I fear dying, is to me quite disgusting, 
and she feels the unfeelingness of it herself so 
much it quite goes to my heart. She is certainly 
worse, and I think Pope will find that his eternal 
delays about nothing will prove fatal. I do think 
she would have recovered if she had not gone to 
Weymouth 2 and now I think it impossible. She 
has so little chance of happiness in this world, that 
I believe it is selfish to wish her to live, and with 
such a mind as hers she must be pretty certain of 
happiness in the next. The longer her illness lasts 
the more perfect she appears. I never in my life 
met with such sweetness of temper and resignation 

1 The Queen's birthday was on May 19. 

2 She appears to have gone to Weymouth some time 
between April 7 and May 18. 

N 2 195 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

as hers, and such wonderful consideration for all 
those who she thinks love her." 

" Sunday Night. 

11 Dr. Pope has just been here and though he 
says Princess Amelia is certainly no worse, he by 
no means allows me to be as sanguine as I was dis- 
posed to feel from the accounts of to-day. He can 
by no means allow that she is out of danger, for she 
can take very little nourishment indeed. Only con- 
ceive the Queen inviting all the neighbours last 
night to her party, because it was her own stupid 



1809 (continued) 1810 




THE Princess rallied remarkably in the ensuing 
summer, and on warm days was able to walk in the 
garden. She was at times buoyed up with the hope 
that the day was now approaching when the cere- 
mony could be legally performed which should unite 
her to the man she so devotedly loved. 

Time went on. No answer had been received 
from the Privy Council. So far so good. But had 
the proper steps ever been taken? Had the Privy 
Council been rightly informed? Had the notice 
been duly entered in their books, and could Parlia- 
ment be said to approve without the King being 
cognizant? These might be legal nuts for lawyers 
to crack, but what could a poor love-sick girl know 
of Privy Councils and Royal Marriage Acts? 

Meanwhile, hopeful though she might at times 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

be, the possibility of never recovering, and the 
prospect of dying, were constantly present to her 
mind, and she strongly desired that in the event 
of her death her wishes should be strictly carried 
out. It is evident that she had no confidence 
that her family could be trusted in a matter of 

While making preparations before leaving Wind- 
sor for her journey to Weymouth, she wrote the 
following statement, dated August 17, 1809, and 
sealed it, to be opened only on her death. 

1 " I hope I shall be attended to in this my last 
Request and Wish, that everything belonging to me 
may be instantly delivered up or sealed up till the 
arrival of the Honble. Charles FitzRoy son to the 
late Lord Southampton and brother to the present, 
and Equerry to my father the King. To whom I 
leave everything I have, Furniture, Money, Jewels, 
Trinkets, books. The jewels I beg he will sell 
to liquidate the debts if any remain. To him I 
depend for looking over all my things to examine 
all my papers and no one else but him to do it as 
he is in full possession and the only person existing 
who has my whole confidence on every subject. He 
is at liberty to give any trifles away he thinks he 
ought, to my Sisters as a little remembrance of 

1 The late Hon. Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

a lost sister. To Lady Grosvenor's 1 daughter 
Amelia my godchild I leave Lady Grosvenor's 

1 Cpuntess Grosvenor, Eleanor daughter of Sir Thomas 
Egerton, first Earl of Wilton (who was, as we have said, an 
intimate friend of George III). She married, in 1794, Robert 
second Earl Grosvenor, afterwards first Marquis of West- 
minster. Their eldest son was second Marquis, and their 
second son succeeded to the Egerton estates as second Earl 
of Wilton. Their third son was the late Lord Ebury. Their 
only daughter, Lady (Mary) Amelia, the Princess's god- 
daughter, a most charming and promising child, died in 1814. 
A workbox with fittings given to her by Princess Amelia was 
in the possession of her niece Lady Leigh (nee Lady Caroline 
Amelia Grosvenor). The following letter from Lord Grosvenor 
to his mother (the Dowager Countess Grosvenor, nee Hen- 
rietta Vernon, daughter of Mr. and Lady Henrietta Vernon, 
and sister of Mr. Leveson Vernon of Stoke Bruerne), written 
on the death of the little Amelia, is now in the possession 
of Mr. B. Wentworth-Vernon of Stoke Bruerne 

" Heat on House ; April 6, 1814. 

"I have to regret that in the midst of our distress I 
should have omitted to desire you might be informed of our 
loss, before it could have appeared in the public papers, and 
I lose no time in thanking you for your obliging letter, and 
for the manner in which you express your sentiments with 
regard to Lady Grosvenor and myself in our late heavy 
affliction. None but those who were in constant intercourse 
with our beloved daughter could have known the extent of 
our deprivation. She gave great promise of every excellence, 
and her intelligent mind could only be exceeded by the sweet- 
ness of her disposition and early piety, which never deserted 
her through the severe sufferings of her last illness. Lady 
Grosvenor's health I am sorry to say has been but indifferent. 
With every sincere wish for your welfare and happiness. 
" I remain, Madam, affectionately yours, 


[The tone of this letter, remarkably formal even in a formal 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

picture, and the same to Mrs. Robert Moore's 1 
daughter Amelia the miniature of Mrs. Moore, and 
to General Wynyard the picture of Lady Matilda 
Wynyard. To Charles FitzRoy I otherwise leave 
everything and at his disposal all my money, 
jewels, plate, books, furniture, trinkets, and every- 

" My attachment to my beloved Charles has 
existed for ten years unceasing, as I knew his worth 
and possessed his affection. He has been my 
guardian and best friend, and in possessing his un- 
divided regard and esteem and confidence, as he 
has mine, has been the comfort and support of my 
life, and nothing but the cruel situation I am placed 
in of being daughter to the King and the laws 
made by the King respecting the marriages of the 
Royal Family prevents my being married to him, 
which I consider I am in my heart and which 
vow and sole object has been my comfort and 
guide these last ten years and can end but with 
my life. 

" The King's lockets, &c., I have on I wish to be 

age, may be accounted for by the fact that this Lord 
Grosvenor had never been associated with his mother since 
her early separation from his father; indeed his own prin- 
ciples were too strict to admit of intimacy with a mother of 
laxer views.] 

1 Daughter-in-law of John Moore, Archbishop of Canter- 
bury. " Mrs. Moore " was his widow. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

buried with me as also his picture, unless Charles 
FitzRoy wishes any taken off to wear himself or 
either of the pictures to be given to his beloved 
sister and my dearest friend Charlotte Viscountess 
Dungannon. 1 To my maid whose attachment he 
must well know I leave all my clothes and depend 
on her and her niece Mary Ann Gaskoin being well 
provided for. 

" My family cannot plead ignorance of the attach- 
ment of my heart for my beloved Charles FitzRoy 
and this last request I die hoping it will be fulfilled 
as is my solemn wish and desire. 


" August \Tth 1809." 

It was shortly after writing the above that she 
went to Weymouth for the last time, her physicians 
hoping that her health might be benefited by a 
change which had often in former years proved 

" Princess Amelia," writes Mrs. Harcourt on 
August 31, 1809, "though fatigued got pretty 
well to Andover, and would be at Weymouth last 
night." 2 

1 Died 1828, mother of the last Viscount Dungannon, on 
whose death the late Lord Trevor became the heir to the 
estate of Brynkinalt. 

2 The Harcourt Papers, published by E. W. H., Vol. VI. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

But her malady was now too far advanced for 
cure, and the true cause of it, as her sisters well 
knew, was a breaking heart. She returned to 
Windsor in the autumn, never again to leave it. 

" Such was the harshness and unkindness she 
experienced from the Queen during all her suffer- 
ings," says Princess Amelia's most intimate friend, 1 
"that it became necessary for the doctors and her 
sisters to arrange under pretence of greater quiet to 
have her removed from the Castle to a house close 
by [called ' Augusta Lodge '], belonging to the King, 
where she was only subject once a day to visits from 
her mother. The Princess Mary . . . lived there 
with her. Still the daily visit from the Queen, 
unaccompanied as it was by any feeling of kindness 
or even compassion, did her so much harm " that 
finally "the doctors were obliged [we are antici- 
pating here] to interdict the Queen's coming at 

Unfortunately Princess Amelia's devoted friend 
Mrs. Villiers was unable to be much with her 
now, but their friendship remained unchanged, 
and no day passed without her writing to Mrs. 

The letter is addressed to the Countess Harcourt, the intim- 
ate friend and correspondent of the Royal Family. 
1 Hon. Mrs. George Villiers to Lady Theresa Lewis. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

The Princess corresponded at this time with the 
Prince of Wales, writing him frequent bulletins 
of her health. A letter from the Prince in reply 
to some of these is among General FitzRoy's 
Papers. 1 It is dated Carlton House, October 
;th 1809." 

"A thousand, thousand, thousand thanks my be- 
loved Child, for your kind letters and which would 
be most delightful, if they happily contained better 
accounts of your dear self and if I could persuade 
myself that the writing so frequently to me was not 
attended by exertion and inconvenience to you, 
which I cannot endure the thoughts of, as there is 
not the smallest necessity for your troubling your- 
self so much, for I do assure you that dearest 
Minny's [Princess Mary's] letters are really quite 
sufficient, and a line only now and then from your- 
self, more than enough. I have not as yet seen our 
excellent friend G. V. 2 since he has been in Town, 
but as he has not called I shall send and desire him 
to make me a little visit. To-morrow morning, when 
in all probability we shall compare notes together, 
and I should fancy that your ears would then not 
burn a little. You cannot imagine how delighted I 
am that you are pleased with the Pelisses, for I do 

1 The late Hon. Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 

2 The Hon. George Villiers. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

assure you that if unfortunately there has been any- 
thing not quite right in them, it would not have been 
from neglect, or want of pains that it could have 
arisen, for the very utmost attention was bestowed 
upon them. Your orders are also obey'd by this 
day's Coach, as a small Parcel will go down by it, 
containing a yard of silk of each of the Pelisses; 
and now if there is or would be anything more which 
you would wish to have pray charge me with it, 
and it shall be most faithfully dispatch'd, for I ever 
feel most happy, my beloved Amelia, when I can do 
anything that can afford you either pleasure or com- 
fort. I am quite happy upon your account, as I 
know how much easier it makes your mind at think- 
ing you have dear old Pope with you at the very 
moment in all probability that I am writing to you, 
pray remember me kindly to Him, and desire Him 
not to forget either to write to me or to call upon 
me when He leaves you, and at any rate to tell me 
all he thinks about you, and what he further intends 
to do. I have neither public nor domestick news 
to tell you, therefore I shall bring this stupid letter 
to a speedy conclusion, desiring you to say every- 
thing for me that is most affectionate to dearest 
Minny and Adolphus, and to believe me, my 
beloved Amelia, 

" Ever your most affectionate Brother, 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

The Duke of York was also assiduous in attend- 
ing to the requests of his invalid sister. 

"November 19, 1809.* 


"A thousand thanks for your kind note. 
You may depend on my endeavouring to see Dr. 
Saunders the first moment I can after I get to Eton 
to-morrow afternoon. 

" I will also take care to put the Advertisement 
which you wish in the Morning Post' 1 and shall 
be curious to learn if the person writes to you 

" God bless you, dearest Amelia. Heaven grant 
that I may receive a good account of you, and 
believe me, 

" Your most affectionate, 


Among General Fitz Roy's papers the first of 
several touching letters from the King to his beloved 
daughter during her long illness written in the 
handwriting of his Secretary Colonel Taylor, with 
the blind King's scrawled signature appended 
bears date ' The Queen's Palace, January 4th 

1 The late Hon. Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 

2 This probably had reference to one of Princess Amelia's 
many objects of charity. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 


"Sir Henry Halford 1 has just brought me 
your truly kind and affectionate letter for which I 
cannot thank you in terms which can express all I 
feel. I have ever been convinced of your warm 
affection for me, I have derived the greatest com- 
fort from the continued proofs received of it, and 
there is no object nearer my heart, no blessing for 
which I pray more fervently than that you may be 
restored to me, and to your family in the full enjoy- 
ment of your health. Dear Mary's attentions to you 
have indeed been most kind and exemplary, and 
they have, if possible, endeared her yet more to me. 
Of Sir Henry Halford's attentions I am very 

1 Towards the end of 1809 Sir Henry was sent for in 
conjunction with Dr. Baillie to attend the Princess Amelia, 
the youngest and favourite daughter of George III. The 
Princess resided with her sister the Princess Mary in a house 
at Windsor Augusta Lodge in proximity to the Castle. 
She had been ill for some time and attended by Sir Francis 
Milman, Dr. Saunders, Dr. Heberden and a local practitioner 
named Pope. Her complaint was consumption of the lungs, 
which medicine then could affect but little, and in the symp- 
toms of which the Princess herself perceived but little 
amendment. . . . Sir Henry and Dr. Baillie were entirely 
agreed in their view of the case and drew up two joint 
reports one, containing a full and most candid statement 
to be submitted to the King; the other, which the Princess 
herself was to be allowed to see, mollified in such manner 
as to avoid any ill consequences to her feelings, and maintain 
that hope in her mind, without which such chance as there 
might be of recovery would be extinguished. Munk's Life 
of Sir Henry Halford, p. 138. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

sensible and I thank God that he has brought me 
such an account of you as I may consider upon the 
whole satisfactory. Ernest's escape l has been 
truly providential and I have just received a very 
favourable report of him from Mr. Frome. 
" God bless you my dearest Amelia, and believe me, 
" Ever your most affectionate Father, 

(sgd) " GEORGE R." 

In a letter quoted by Mr. Percy FitzGerald in 
his Life of George IV ? Princess Mary writing to 
Lady Anne Smith from Augusta Lodge on January 
9, 1810, says 

" I wish it were in my power to send you as good 
an account of dear Amelia as all those who love her 
must pray for. I think I may venture to say that 
she certainly is not worse since Sir H. Halford and 
Baillie have been called in; and as they are gone I 

1 The King alludes to the affair of the Duke of Cumberland 
and his valet Sellis, an ugly incident which made great stir at 
the time. See Examiner for 1829 (p. 165), in which year 
this scandal was revived. 

2 Vol. I. p. 13. Mr. FitzGerald calls this lady Mrs. Anne 
Smith. She was Lady Anne Smith, ne'e Wellesley, daughter 
of the first Earl of Mornington and sister of the great Duke of 
Wellington, and had' married firstly the Hon. Henry 
FitzRoy, a brother of our hero, and secondly Charles Culling 
Smith, Esq. She had two daughters (one by each husband), 
Miss FitzRoy and Miss Smith, who were both successively 
the wives of Henry seventh Duke of Beaufort. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

trust I may add the new plan does not disagree; 
but until the constant pain in the side is removed I 
never can feel happy about her. She has very un- 
fortunately got cold this last week which Sir H. 
Halford still hopes to keep off her lung. Amelia 
desires her most affectionate love, and begs me to 
say how much she is obliged to you for all the kind 
enquiries you have made at different times after her, 
and how happy she shall be to see you whenever she 
is well enough but now she is unequal to seeing 
anybody but her own family and . . . [who?] both 
Sir H. Halford and Baillie declared much depended 
on it." 

Another letter from the King * to his invalid 
daughter continues the chronicle in the following 

" Queen's Palace, 

" February %th 1810. 


" I am truly sensible of your affectionate 
attention in writing to me and not less pleased to 
have received both from yourself and dear Mary 
a more comfortable account of you. I also rejoyce 
that the last change of diet has answered my hopes 
that it would not disagree with you as did the solid 
meat, but I shall be impatient to receive a further 
confirmation to-morrow of what is so necessary to 
my comfort. 

1 The late Hon. Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

"The Queen has desired me to say that she has 
not time to thank you for your letter before she goes 
to St. James's, but that she will call upon you to- 
morrow on her return to Windsor. 
" Believe me ever, 

" My dearest Amelia, 

" Your most affectionate Father, 
(signed) " GEORGE R." 

If we can believe the reports of Caroline Princess 
of Wales, Princess Elizabeth did not behave kindly 
to her sister Amelia during her illness. The follow- 
ing account in a letter of the Princess of Wales 
given by Mr. Percy FitzGerald l certainly tallies 
with the statement of Amelia herself 

" I heard the other day, from a lady who lives a 
good deal at Court and with Courtiers, that a most 
erroneous opinion is formed in general of the 
Princess E. The good humour for which she has 
credit is only an outward show, and this is exempli- 
fied in her conduct to the poor Princess A[melia] 
who is dying quite given over though her decay 
may be slow and tedious. The Princess A[ugusta] 
and S[ophia] are devoted to her; but Princess E. 
treats her with most cruel unkindness and ill-temper. 
So much for Court gossip. Thank God, I do not 
live with them ! " 

1 Life of George IV, Vol. II. p. 14. 
o 209 


1810 (continued) 





THE Princess of Wales further reports 

" Every one believes Princess Amelia is married 
to Mr. FitzRoy, and they say she has confessed her 
marriage to the King, who is miserable at his ex- 
pected loss of his daughter who is his favourite, and 
I do not wonder, for she always appeared to me the 
most amiable of the whole set." 1 

The assertion that Princess Amelia was married 
to General FitzRoy has been so often repeated, that 
it will come as a surprise to many that we have 
good reason for stating that no marriage ever took 
place. There is, nevertheless, a higher authority 

1 The letter continues : " So she is destined to be taken 
away. Well perhaps it is as happy for her, poor thing, that 
she should, for there is not much felicity I believe amidst dem 
all. When I left the Royal presence I thought to myself you 
shall not catch me here again in a hurry ! ! " Life of 
George IV, Vol. II. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

than the Princess of Wales's gossip for a belief 
in a marriage. The lady who in after years 
married General FitzRoy at one time believed 
that her husband had been secretly married to the 

That Mrs. FitzRoy should have so believed was 
only natural considering the number of letters which 
Princess Amelia 1 signed "A. F. R." and "wife." 
The evidence of these signatures, however, may be 
discarded as worthless from the fact that in these 
very letters the Princess wrote "we really must 
marry," and as late as August 1809 she said she was 
still not married except "in heart." In the last 
year of her life, 1809-1810, she has ceased to sign 
herself " wife " and still alludes significantly to the 
separation of their "persons." It has been said 
that quite towards the end of her life a ceremony 
was gone through, that it had been arranged so as 
to give happiness to the last moments of the dying 
Princess, and that Mrs. Villiers had actually been 
a witness of it. We have Mrs. Villiers's absolute 
denial of this. Let us now quote this lady's own 
words. Writing to her daughter Lady Theresa 
Lewis 2 in 1847 she says 

1 The whole of the correspondence of Princess Amelia 
passed into this lady's possession by the will of her husband, 
General FitzRoy, on his death in 1831, and she survived him 
for seven years. 

2 The late Sir Villiers Lister's Papers. 

o 2 211 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

"Many people believed that the Princess had 
been privately married to General FitzRoy indeed 
your father [the writer's husband the Hon. 
George Villiers] was one day assured from what 
his informant [Mrs. Beadon] called undoubted 
authority that I had assisted at the marriage; and 
when your Father positively denied it, she still per- 
sisted in her belief, and only supposed I had done 
so unknown to him. Others have asserted that she 
had children of whom I had the charge, but my 
firm conviction is, amounting as near to certainty 
as any one person can feel certain about another, 
that she never was married, or ever had a child, and 
that as she has often told me herself, it was con- 
scious innocence that made her, what her sisters 
called imprudent. I am persuaded that all these 
stories were as utterly void of foundation l as that 
of your being her child." 

Lovers of scandal may be disappointed at this 

1 Among the stories utterly devoid of foundation was one 
that professed to give the true reason why the Royal Family 
objected to a marriage between Princess Amelia and General 
FitzRoy namely his being a natural son of George III, and 
therefore a half-brother of Princess Amelia; and that the 
King's final insanity was caused by his discovery that a 
marriage between his children had taken place. The tradition 
of this fable still survives, but it will surely not be credited 
by any one who has carefully followed the true incidents 
revealed in these pages. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

refutation, but readers who have followed the 
Princess's letters and dying wishes, will not hesitate 
to endorse Mrs. Villiers's explanation. 1 

It has been suggested that something of vanity 
mingled with the chivalrous devotion which Fitz- 
Roy bore towards his Princess j, and that he was of 
a less passionate temperament than she was, as he 
was also her inferior in strength of character and 
mental calibre. It may well have been that pity 
was blended with his love pity for this tender 
flower blossoming amid unworthy surroundings. 
But as we read Princess Amelia's final paper (dated 
"Windsor July 28th 1810," that is nearly a year 
since her last and three months before her end) we 
see no reason to minimize the merits of General 
FitzRoy's conduct throughout. 

An allusion obscurely expressed in it, the full 
significance of which the lovers could alone appre- 
ciate, is certainly remarkable * 

1 Even Huish, the author of the Chronique Scandaleuse 
of George IV, says, "The character of Princess Amelia 
shines amidst the vices of Royalty " ; and again (George III, 
p. 606), "a purer and more virtuous being never graced this 

2 The reproduction in full in these pages of all Princess 
Amelia's Memoranda of Last Wishes, written at intervals 
during so many years, although it involves much repetition 
of her feelings, has seemed the more necessary that here and 
there are to be found passages significant of the situation 
existing between these hapless lovers. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 


!< This you will open when I am no longer an 
inhabitant of this world, but I die as I have lived 
blessing you, and my only comfort is the hope I 
may now watch over you in spirit, and hereafter we 
may be joined to part no more. 

" I have left two wills, the original in Charles 
Bicknell's care, of Spring Gardens Terrace, and 
the duplicate equally witnessed and signed by 
Battiscombe x in my red box, where this letter is, to 
be opened only by the Prince, or the Duke of Cam- 
bridge, who are my joint executors. ,The former 
has ever been a father, brother, and friend to me, 
and him only do I trust in my family, and only on 
his following my desires and wishes relative to my 

" I have now only to tell you my beloved Charles 
I die as I have lived blessing you for your affec- 
tion and kindness to me, and assuring you my 
affection and gratitude has increased with my years, 
and will to the last moment of my life, and should 
my cruel situation continue to separate our persons 2 
be assured my heart is and long has been joined and 

1 The Windsor doctor who had attended the Royal Family 
for many years. 

2 These words are surely significant. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

united with yours. I live but for you. I love you 
with the purest affection, the greatest gratitude; I 
owe you everything. All my happiness and com- 
fort I derive is through you. My only guide and 
wish is to be worthy to be your own and the chosen 
darling of your heart, and though separation is the 
greatest misery yet my only happiness is being dear 
to you. How virtuous, how disinterested and 
honourable has been your conduct ! I have ven- 
tured to express it to my family, and though in 
general I have been cruelly used by them, yet I 
felt it a duty and respect to you to name your noble 

" In my will I have named what legacies I wish 
given to my family. The rest I leave wholly to 
you, and your knowing who I loved most of those 
who value me, any token you give I shall know is 
right. I leave some papers written prior to this, 
with a copy of this letter, in your possession, in 
which you will see what I have wished ; but the pre- 
sent Wills [duplicates], signed by Battiscombe, are 
what are the real ones. However any wish I have 
you are in possession of, or should anything occur 
to me, I will add it, as I know you will follow it if 
you can. Pray give something of mine to the dear 
Villiers's who have been the best and sincerest 
friends / and you ever possessed, and whose kind- 
ness deserves every mark of my gratitude; as also 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

the Neales, 1 with them and Mrs. Moore pray keep 
up an intimacy to talk of me. Then let me entreat 
that in your Memory I may ever live. I bless God 
what I am I owe to you, and I feel since I knew you 
and had the blessing of your friendship and advice, 
/ have no reason to dread your remembering the 
different feelings to what you ought to have for one 
you call your tout. 

'' The conduct of my family I forgive, though I 
have keenly felt it, and above all their conduct to 
you which to me is worse than anything done to 
myself. To the Prince you must ever feel grateful 
for his kindness to me, and he is the only one I 
particularly wish you to shew attention to. My 
servant Gaskoin and Mary Anne who have been 
more friends than servants, I am sure you will not 
let them go unrewarded. My clothes will be 
divided with them, and I should like some mark of 
favour either by annuity or remembrance. 

" In regard to my property dispose of jewels &c. 
as suits you and your wishes. Dear Mr. George 
Villiers I wished to have made my executor, but all 
that has occurred to him lately, and cruel as it has 
been, it has been more delicate not to do it. Re- 

1 Sir Harry and Lady Neale. Admiral Sir H. Neale, 
Bart., G.C. B.A., a distinguished Naval Officer, and for some 
time a Lord of the Admiralty, died February 1840. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

member Theresa l is my adopted child. God bless 
you. I feel happier now I have written this. Keep 
up your place and try to be happy. Your own con- 
science must be a happy one, feeling how nobly you 
have ever acted towards me. Pray remember dear 
Mrs. Williams [her nurse]. All my papers you will 
examine yourself. Now God bless you, and [may 
He] allow me to assist in watching and guarding 
thy life, prays your dying, as did your living, 

" Affectionate, 


" Windsor, July 28, 1810. 

" The Honble. C. FiTzRov." 

1 Daughter of the Honourable George and Mrs. Villiers. 
When her brother succeeded to the Earldom of Clarendon 
she was raised to the rank of an earl's daughter. Married 
first to Mr. T. H. Lister of Armitage, and secondly to the 
Right Honourable Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Bart., by her 
first marrige she left issue the late Sir T. Villiers Lister, 
K.C.M.G., and two daughters : Maria Theresa, the first wife 
of the late Right Honourable Sir William Vernon-Harcourt, 
and Alice Beatrice, the late Lady Glenesk. 


1810 (continued] 




IN August 1810 the Princess's sufferings became 
more acute, and in October she was attacked by 
" St. Anthony's fire," which precluded all hope of 
her recovery. 1 She was now reduced to a state of 
extreme weakness, but she never murmured nor 
ceased to show the noblest Christian fortitude and 

The belief reported by the Princess of Wales to 
have been entertained by persons at Court, that 
Princess Amelia had "confessed her marriage to 
the King," although unwarranted, may have arisen 
from her having in all probability on her deathbed 
confessed to her father her secret betrothal. 2 The 

1 Lady Ailesbury, writing to Lady Louisa Stuart in 
August 1810, says that "every one in Bath had bought their 
mourning," believing that Princess Amelia could not recover. 
Lady Louisa Stuart's Correspondence, edited by Mrs. 
Clark of Talygarn. 

2 Mr. Munk in his Life of Sir Henry Halford, p. 139, 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

agitation occasioned to the King by some disclosure 
of this nature, together with the remorse which he 
felt too late, may have prepared, and probably did 
prepare, the way for the complete breakdown of his 
mind. It is true that the rest of the Royal Family 
were not aware of any such confession having been 
made, for the Prince of Wales, after Princess 
Amelia's death, actually declared his belief that the 
King was completely ignorant of the attachment, 
and he used this as an argument that the King 
should not be told the contents of her Will. But 
from what we have gathered of Princess Amelia's 
habitual reticence with certain members of her 
family, we may be sure that if she did inform the 
King she would at the same time have made him 
promise not to divulge that she had told him. We 
may be sure also, in that case, that the King would 
have kept his word, and that the Queen and 
Amelia's brothers and sisters would be the last 

alludes to the "secret marriage she [Princess Amelia] had 
contracted with General FitzRoy," and implies that she asked 
Sir Henry to " become the medium of communication between 
herself and the King " on this subject. It may well have 
been that the Princess consulted Sir Henry towards the end 
of her life as to the propriety of telling the King of her 
betrothal. Sir Henry seems to have declined to be in any 
way an intermediary in the matter on account of the King's 
state of mind, Princess Mary earnestly deprecating any such 
step ; and thus Sir Henry " was compelled in the best way he 
could to decline compliance " with Princess Amelia's request. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

persons likely to know anything of what passed 
between her and her father. 

There was certainly every opportunity for this 
confidence to have been imparted by the daughter 
to the father during her last illness, for he visited 
her every afternoon. 

During her final illness "it seemed," says a 
writer of the Court Annals, 1 speaking of the King, 
"that his whole soul became absorbed in the fate 
of his daughter^, he dwelt on it with harassing and 
weakening grief and despair. On some occasions 
he kept the physicians, when they made their report, 
two or three hours in minute inquiries, indeed so 
restless was his anxiety that he was accustomed to 
receive a report every morning at seven o'clock and 
afterwards every two hours of the day. At three 
o'clock every day he went to her lodge to visit her, 
and the effect of these visits upon his heart was 
visible in his tears." 

"The best picture we can give of the venerable 
monarch at that moment," says the same writer, 
" was drawn by a worthy divine, after having asked 
a gentleman, who was in the habit of close and 
official attendance on the Princess Amelia, during 
her whole protracted illness, of what nature were 
the interviews and conversations held between her 
and his Majesty, and who replied, ' They are of the 

1 George III, his Court and Family. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

most interesting kind.' The divine inquired, 'Are 
they of a religious character?' 'Yes/ said the 
gentleman, ' decidedly so ; and the religion is exactly 
of that sort which you, as a serious Christian, would 
approve of. His Majesty speaks to his daughter 
of the only hope of a sinner being in the blood and 
righteousness of Jesus Christ. He examines her 
as to the integrity and strength of that hope, in her 
own soul. ;The Princess listens with calmness and 
delight to the conversation of her venerable parent, 
and replies to his questions in a very affectionate 
and serious manner. Nothing/ added he, 'can be 
more striking than the sight of the King, aged an'd 
nearly blind, bending over the couch on whicK the 
Princess lies, and speaking to her about salvation 
through Christ as a matter far more interesting to 
them both than the highest privileges, and most 
magnificent pomps of royalty/ J It is probable 
that in the course of these intimate and earnest talks 
the dying girl confessed her secret to her father; 
while we may assume that the gentleman alluded 
to above, was no other than Charles FitzRoy, the 
Princess's faithful servant, friend, lover, and 

If Charles FitzRoy, as equerry in attendance on 
his Majesty, was allowed to be a witness of inter- 
views between the King and his daughter and it 
must be remembered that the King himself had 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

appointed his favourite FitzRoy as her attendant 
sucK formal meetings were not sufficient to satisfy 
the lovers. That clandestine visits from the faith- 
ful FitzRoy to the suffering invalid were arranged 
with the secret connivance of Princess Augusta and 
Princess Mary, and with the assistance of the 
devoted servant Mary Anne Gaskoin, is shown by a 
letter of the latter among General FitzRoy's Papers. 
Additional mystery was employed in order to pro- 
tect the latter from possible suspicion in the 
future, and even Princess Augusta was not to know 
that she was in the secret. 

"M. A. G." writes after one of these visits 
(Princess Amelia herself is now too ill even to 
write): "The Princess Amelia has desired MA. to 
tell General F.R. how very happy his visit of this 
evening has made her, so much so that all words 
must fail in the description, H.R.H. wished me to 
say how much she had to say but that it was im- 
possible for her being so short a time with you. 
Princess Amelia would wish you by no means to 
name having seen her to any one excepting Princess 
Augusta. To her, H.R.H. would wish you to name 
it whilst riding to-morrow, and particularly to ex- 
press in the strongest terms how much both the 
Princess Amelia and yourself felt the very great 
kindness H.R.H. [Princess Augusta] had shown 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

concerning this visit; but to be sure and avoid 
naming to Princess Augusta my knowing of it, as 
Princess Amelia to them refused my being told, 
thinking that, should it at any time be possible to 
come privately, it might be the means of quieting 
their suspicions with regard to me. Princess Mary 
sent me to open the gate but told me it was in case 
any of the Dukes should come. Princess A. 
[Amelia] wishes much to hear from you. Sir Henry 
Halford is come and finds the pulse considerably 
reduced since he was here. I will write again if 
possible in the morning. 

"M. A. G." 1 

1 The late Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. Mary 
Anne Gaskoin was associated with her aunt Miss Gaskoin as 
a maid to Princess Amelia. 


1810 (October and November) 






" DAY by day," writes Miss Knight, who visited the 
Princess in her sick-chamber, "she sank more and 
more under her great sufferings. Though pale and 
emaciated she still retained her beauty. She wished 
to live, but was thoroughly resigned when she found 
there was no hope of her remaining long upon earth. 
Her sentiments of piety were pure, enlightened and 
fervent. I saw her a few days before her death, 
when, taking off her glove, she shewed me her hand 
it was perfectly transparent. She was particu- 
larly fond of music, but latterly could not bear the 
sound of a pianoforte, even in another room. The 
Princess Augusta thereupon gave her a bird which 
sang very sweetly, and with a very soft note, and 
she took pleasure in listening to it." l 

1 Miss Knight's Autobiography, Vol. I. pp. 173, 174. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

The pathetic incident of the dying Princess pre- 
senting a ring to her father is well known. 

She had given orders to the jeweller to prepare 
a ring for his Majesty which she wished to have 
immediately, as she now became sensible that her 
end was near. (The jewellers worked with all pos- 
sible speed and brought the ring to the Princess's 
apartments just in time before the King's visit to 
his daughter at three o'clock. 1 

The blind King, on approaching the bed of the 
Princess, put out his hand to take hold of hers as 
was his daily custom. The Princess then placed 
the ring on his ringer without saying anything. The 
King was greatly agitated. It contained a small 
lock of her hair enclosed under a crystal tablet set 
round with a few sparks of diamonds. The inscrip- 
tion bore the name "Amelia" and the words 
" Remember me." 2 The Princess said, " Pray wear 
this for my sake, and I hope you will not forget 
me." The King answered, " That I can never do, 
you are engraven on my heart," and burst into 
tears. 3 Then, as the father bent for the last time 
over his dying child, her parting words were, 

1 Royal Dukes and Princesses, by Percy FitzGerald, Vol. 
I. p. 224. 

2 See Annual Register, Vol. LXII. pp. 708, 709; George 
III, his Court and Family; Royal Dukes and Princesses. 

3 This is from Miss Cumberland's account which we 
publish pp. 228-235. 

p 225 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

"Remember me, but do not grieve for 
me." 1 

The effect of this present on the afflicted King, 
after his long anxiety and grief during the progress 
of her illness grief to which remorse may have 
added bitterness proved too great a strain for his 
reason. 2 From that time the powers of his under- 
standing completely gave way and he fell a prey to 
the mental disorder under which he continued to 
labour until his death. 

Peter Pindar a poet whom we should not expect 
to write in praise of Royalty composed some verses 
at the time on this theme, entitled 



: ' With all the virtues blest and every grace 
TO charm the world and dignify her race, 

1 Miss Knight's Autobiography, Vol I. p. 174. 

2 This was first noticeable on October 24, nine days 
before his daughter's death, and he never saw her during 
that interval. Munk says in his Life of Sir H. Halford 
(p. 140), "One of the King's latest hours of rational life 
was employed in dictating a letter to the Princess Amelia, 
which he directed in Sir Henry Halford's presence, and com- 
mitted to his charge, to express his satisfaction that she had 
received the Holy Sacrament that morning, and had sought 
for comfort under her sufferings where only it could be found 
in religion. The Princess died two days afterwards." 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Life's taper losing fast its feeble fire, 
The fair Amelia thus bespoke her sire : 
' Faint on the bed of sickness lying, 
My spirit from its mansion flying, 
Not long the light these languid eyes will see, 
My friend, my father and my king, 
Oh ! wear a daughter's mournful ring ! 
Receive the token and remember me.' " l 

Princess Amelia was released from her sufferings 
on All Souls Day, November 2, 1810, in the twenty- 
eighth year of her age. She died as one dropping 
gently to sleep. A letter 2 from Princess Mary to 
FitzRoy, preserved among his papers, speaks for 


" Our beloved Amelia is no more but her last 
words to me were, ' Tell Charles I die blessing 
him.' Before I leave the house I obey her last 

" Far or near 

; ' Your affectionate friend 

" MARY." 

The following contemporaneous account of inci- 
dents which immediately preceded and followed the 

1 Huish, George III, p. 667. 

2 The late Hon. Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 

p 2 227 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

death of Princess Amelia, is here published for the 
first time by the permission of the Hon. Mrs. R. C. 
Boyle. It is copied from a little memorandum-book 
which belonged to that lady's grandmother Lady 
Albinia Cumberland, and in which Mrs. Boyle's 
mother, then Miss Albinia Cumberland 1 (daughter 
of Lady Albinia), wrote a diary of these in- 
cidents which she either witnessed or heard reported 
at the time. The greater part of this precious 
little book was torn out afterwards, probably 
because it was thought to contain matter best for- 

" 1810 Friday November 2nd Princess Amelia 
died at Windsor in Augusta Lodge where she had 
been ill above a year. Princess Amelia expired at 
i o'clock in the afternoon. For some days she 
had appeared stupified, and suffered no pain, and 
her head had wandered. Mr. Digby read the 
service for the sick to her. She was very bad at 
first, but grew better towards the end, and when 
he omitted the Confession, she reminded him of it 
and answered every question perfectly clear. 
Princess Mary was in the room when she expired. 
Sir H. H. [Henry Halford] felt her pulse and said 
' Your Royal Highness had better retire.' Princess 

1 Married in 1811 to Alexander Gordon, Esq., of Ellon 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Mary answered she was determined to stay till the 
last; then Sir H. H. asked for a candle, and putting 
it near her mouth he said it was over. 

" Princess Mary kissed her and then went up- 
stairs. When H.R.H. left the house she was at- 
tended by the Physicians to the Castle, as the King 
had ordered that no attendant should leave the 
house after the melancholy event took place. The 
Queen was in Augusta Lodge at the time, who of 
course went to the Castle, and as the King wished 
her to go to Frogmore as usual, the whole family 
put on black (not the mourning) [and went] except 
Princess Mary who could not bring herself to do 
so. 1 At least this was the ostensible reason, but 
respect and feeling for the Princess Amelia was of 
course the real one. 

" Lady Cranley 2 and Miss Onslow were in the 
house at the time, so there they will remain. A 
lady sits up with the body every night. All the 
shutters are shut of the houses adjoining the Castle. 
Lady A.C. [the writer's mother, Lady Albinia Cum- 
berland] saw all the Princesses and the Duke of 
C ce [Clarence] who was much affected. He 

1 i. e. to go to Frogmore. 

2 Charlotte daughter of William Hale, Esq. (widow of 
Thomas Duncombe, Esq., of Duncombe) married secondly, 
as his second wife, Thomas Viscount Cranley (afterwards 
second Earl of Onslow), eldest son of George first Earl of 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

had seen the body. Her going to Windsor was 
taken as a mark of great attention. Princess Mary 
embraced her, and cried a great deal, as she said, 
for the first time. Princess S. could not shed a 
tear. Princess E. said ' // our own family would 
behave as well as every one else we should do very 
well.' Did not this relate to the Prince [of Wales] x 
who has been there continually. We met him going 
to London. 

" When Princess Amelia gave the King the ring, 
it certainly was in great measure the occasion of his 
present state of mind. When told of this death 

[the King] said ' I know very well she can be 

brought to life again.' 2 

"Lady A.C. received a letter to-day, November 
4th, from Col. Disbrowe 3 saying she is probably to 
sit up with the body on Tuesday night, and to 
attend the funeral on Monday the i2th'. Princess 
Amelia will be interred in the Cathedral. Lord 
Dartmouth 4 is dead. 

1 The Duke of Cumberland behaved at this +ime "with a 
coarseness which would have disgraced his own grooms." 
Diary of Colonel Henry Norton Willis, quoted by Jesse, 
George III, Vol. III. p. 556. 

2 It was one of the unfortunate King's delusions that he 
had the power of raising the dead, the Almighty having 
bestowed it on him in a personal interview. 

3 Colonel Disbrowe, Vice-Chamberlain to Queen Char- 
lotte. See ante, page 39. 

4 George third Earl of Dartmouth, K.G., Lord Chamber- 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

"The body of Lady E. Woodville wife of 
Edward IV was found in the Tomb house at 
Windsor. 1 . . . 

: 'The K still very ill. Dr. Meadows* is. at 


" Princess Mary said, * If ever any one died of a 
broken heart, it was this unhappy sufferer/ General 
F. is very ill with a bilious fever. 

"7/# November 1810. 

" Tuesday evening Mama [Lady A. Cumberland] 
and I went to Windsor to Mr. Disbrowe's where I 
slept. Lady A. went on to Lady Ely's 3 to learn 
her orders for the night. At 10 she supped with 
Lady Cranley at Augusta Lodge, at n she corn- 

lain. " In consequence of a delay in sending an official notice 
of her Royal Highness 's death to the Dean of St. Paul's, 
caused by the death of the Lord Chamberlain Lord Dart- 
mouth, the custom of tolling the great bell at St. Paul's did 
not take place till Sunday afternoon, November 4, imme- 
diately after a grand funeral anthem had been sung." 
Gentleman's Magazine for November 1810. From November 5 
orders were issued for a general mourning, and theatres 
and all other places of public amusement were closed till after 
the funeral (the i4th). 

1 When making preparations for the funeral of Princess 

2 Dr. Meadows was a "specialist" for madness. His 
attendance on the King at this time was kept a profound 

3 Widow of Henry Earl of Ely. See ante p. 41. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

menced her melancholy duty. Mad lle Montmolin 
and her sat up in the next room. 1 When first they 
went in, the men were soudering and nailing down 
the leaden coffin, and certainly Lady A. heard the 
small knocking of the nails, but Mrs. FitzGerald 
says there never is any, and that the nails are all 
screws. 2 No proper state was kept up only i pair 
of candles two sofas made up as beds no refresh- 
ments prepared. fTwo maids sat up with the body 
No pages or men-servants sat up, only women 
about the house. The duty was over at 8, and we 
left Windsor at half-past nine. The funeral is on 
Tuesday next. Lady A. C. as senior lady is to walk 
alone. All the ladies in long white crape veils and 
gloves. The men in dress coats. There is no such 
a person as Dr. Meadows. 

" Princess A. gave a ring to Mad lle M[ont- 

molin] two days before her death. [The 

King] had been much distressed she gave nothing 
to the Q. It really made him miserable. When 

1 Miss Knight in her Autobiography says, "Two ladies 
sat up with the corpse every night until the time of the 
funeral. I was directed to perform this duty with Lady 
George Murray. We were in a room adjoining that in which 
was the coffin with the doors open. On the table was a book 
which had been a favourite with Princess Amelia. It was 
Tilikeper's Thoughts on Religious Subjects, and many of 
them had a pencil mark." 

2 An extraordinary number of ornamental nails were put 
on the coffin of Princess Amelia. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

at last she Hid give the Q. a locket with her hair, on 
hearing it his joy was so great, they say it was that 
principally caused his illness. No entreaty was 
spared to induce Princess Amelia not to give the 
ring [to the King]. Princess M. went on her knees 

before her, but nothing could prevent her. 

[The King] arrived, Princess M. met him and said 

' A. has something to give.' [The King] took 

her hand, and Princess A. said ' Pray wear this for 

my sake and I hope you will not forget me.' l 

' That, I can never do, you are engraven on my 
heart' and then burst into tears. 

" A number of Physicians were in the room " 
[that is on some occasion shortly after the above 
incident and when the King's mind had become 

affected] " when as was dressing, said he 

would go upstairs that evening. Some said ' No, do 

not let , that must not be. Sir H. H[aITord] 

said ' Only be quiet, you will see will do no 

such thing.' And so it proved, for putting his hand 
to his head, he said ' It would not do.' 

gave the strictest orders that no one person 
should see the body, not even the brothers, an4 
endeavoured to make the Duke of C. promise he 
would not, but to no purpose, as they were deter- 
mined. The P ce [of Wales] went first and said : 

1 A stroke of the pen cautiously represents the King's 
name each time it occurs. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

' My brothers are all coming to see poor A. and I 
shall be the last/ - Your Royal Highness knows 
my orders ' [this was Mrs. Adams]. P ce : 'I do/ 
and then they all came. 

" Nothing but her own women touched the Body, 
measured it, put on the same night clothes she 
always wore, and laid her in the coffin in which there 
was a white satin shroud. The leaden coffin is now 
put in a red velvet one. Mrs. Adams managed all 

"When Lady Cranley left her room after Pss. 
A. expired she found the poor Q[ueen] in the pas- 
sage, with Lady Ilchester, looking half distracted. 
She took her hand and led her up to Miss Dis- 
browe's room her own was full of smoke and 
there Lady Cranley made her curtsey and left her. 
The Q. has had many trials to go through and is 
now surely more afflicted than ever. 

" has always expressed the greatest dislike 

to having Dr. Willis, 1 and made the Queen promise 
he should never attend him again, and now, though 
her M. has used every argument and spared no 
entreaties, he is sent for, and signs his name to the 
Bulletins, which I believe was not done in the last 

1 Dr. John Willis, or his brother Dr. Robert Willis, sons 
of Dr. Francis Willis who attended George III in his first 
attack of madness in 1788, and who died in 1807. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

illness. Pss. E[lizabeth] told Lady A[lbinia] she 
had not yet been able to shed a tear." 

[Here a great many pages are torn and cut away, 
and when the diary recommences it has no connec- 
tion with the previous subject.] 1 

Miss Knight 2 records an instance characteristic 
of the Princess's consideration for the feelings of 
others even when she was dying. She narrates that 
two days after the death of the Princess she was 
sitting with Princess Augusta when one of her 
dressers entered the room with tears in her eyes, 
bringing a bird-cage in her hand and the bird which 
Princess Augusta had given to her sister. " Princess 
Amelia," she said, "gave orders before her death 
that this bird should be returned to your Royal 
Highness, but not on the day she died, nor the day 
after, that it might not afflict you too much in the 
first hours of your grief; but she wished you to 
know how much she was obliged to you for giving it 
to her, and what a comfort its sweet voice had been." 

The following touching prayer was copied from a 
" blank leaf in the Princess's Prayer Book " by Mr. 
Charles Knight, who had the task of making a 

1 At one end of this little memorandum book is written in 
Lady Albinia Cumberland's handwriting: "George ye 2nd 
was robbed in Kensington Gardens as he was walking early 
in the morning." See Greville Memoirs, Dec. 7, 1843. 

2 Miss Knight's Autobiography, Vol. I. p. 176. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

catalogue of her "well selected library" after her 
death. It is with reverence that we transcribe the 
communings of this stricken soul with its God 1 

" Gracious God, support thy unworthy servant in 
this time of trial. Let not the least murmur escape 
my lips, nor any sentiment but of the deepest 
resignation enter my heart; let me make the use 
Thou intendest of that affliction Thou hast laid 
upon me. It has convinced me of the vanity and 
emptiness of all things here ; let it draw me to Thee 
as my support, and fill my heart with pious trust in 
Thee, and in the blessing of a redeeming Saviour, 
as the only consolation of a state of trial. Amen." 

Some lines found among the Princess's papers 
were long supposed to have been composed by her. 2 
The truth seems to be that they were the composi- 
tion of another lady and copied by the Princess. 
They have nevertheless a pathetic association with 
her name. She admired them, fancying perhaps 
that they were appropriate to her own case 

1 From P. FitzGerald's Royal Dukes and Princesses, 
Vol. I. p. 225. 

2 These verses were published in 1821 as the Princess 
Amelia's composition. The Rev. James Weller states (1904) 
that the verses were sent by the Princess with the signature 
"Amelia" to his great-aunt Miss Weller of Amersham, 
"with her Royal Highness 's best remembrance." 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Unthinking, idle, wild and young, 

I laughed and danced and talked and sung; 

And, proud of health, of freedom vain, 

Dreamed not of sorrow, care or pain; 

Concluding in those hours of glee 

That all the world was made for me. 

But when the hour of trial came, 
When sickness shook the trembling frame, 
When folly's gay pursuits were o'er, 
And I could dance and sing no more, 
It then occurr'd How sad 'twould be 
Were this world, only, made for me ! " 


1810 (continued) 


IT was remarked by the King's physicians that 
when he had become a prey to insanity the name of 
his daughter Amelia ceased to pass his lips. At 
first, however, he occasionally had fleeting intervals 
of comparative calm and reason. Four days before 
her death he was overheard holding a conversation 
with himself, the subject being the several causes 
of each of the mental illnesses from which he had 
suffered in past years. " This" he said, speaking 
of his present malady, "was occasioned by poor 
Amelia." 1 

His condition at the time of his daughter's death 

1 Princess Elizabeth wrote to Lady Harcourt (Harcourt 
Papers, Vol. VI.) on November 1810 : "Aggravating sub- 
jects have been the causes of his former illnesses, and this 
one is due to the overflowing of his heart for his youngest 
and dearest child a child who had never caused him a pang, 
and whom he literally doted on." 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Miss Cumberland has recorded in her diary, which 
we have quoted. We learn from other sources 1 that 
on November 1 1 that is nine days after the death 
the King inquired how long he had been ill. He 
then asked whether the funeral had taken place. On 
being told that it had not, he referred to certain 
instructions which in an earlier stage he had given on 
the subject, desiring that, unless the Princess had 
left contrary directions in her will, they should be 
strictly carried into execution. The King selected 
for her burial anthem the concluding verse of the 
sixteenth Psalm, which he and his daughter had 
often sung together. " Thou shalt shew me the path 
of life. In Thy presence is the fulness of joy, and 
in Thy right hand is pleasure for evermore." 

(The funeral took place by torchlight on the night 
of the 1 3th twelve days after the death of the 

It must have been a weird and dismal scene when 
the cortege moved from Augusta Lodge to St. 
George's Chapel at 8 o'clock on that dark and drear 
November evening. The hearse, preceded by the 
trumpets of the Royal Horse Guards, by the pages 
and grooms of the household in livery, was drawn 
by "the King's set of eight English black horses 
fully caparisoned." On either side the hearse, the 

1 Jesse's George III; The Rose Diaries; Miss Knight's 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Royal Horse Guards flashed in the lurid light of 
the torches borne aloft by the Staffordshire Militia 
who lined the whole of the route. 

Next to the hearse followed the carriage con- 
veying their Royal Highnesses the Prince of 
Wales and the Duke of Cambridge the executors 
of her late Royal Highness an escort of the Royal 
Horse Guards on either side. Then came two 
carriages conveying the attendants of the late Prin- 
cess. In the first were Lady Albinia Cumberland, 
Miss Goldsworthy, Mrs. Williams and Mrs. 
Adams; in the second were Miss Byerly, Miss 
Gaskoin, Mrs. Robinson and Mrs. Davenport. 

At the entrance of the Chapel the Dean and Pre- 
bendaries attended by the choir, received the body, 
and the remainder of the procession having previ- 
ously been formed, the whole proceeded down the 
south aisle, and up the nave into the choir, being 
flanked by the Royal Horse Guards, every fourth 
man bearing a flambeau. 

All the royal brothers were in the procession, the 
Duke of Cambridge walking with the Prince of 
Wales and, as co-executor, taking precedence of the 
rest of his elder brothers. 

It was not the custom of the day for female 
relatives to take part in funeral processions, and 

neither the Queen nor the Princesses were present, 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

but the part of chief mourner was played by the 
" Countess of Chesterfield veiled, her train borne 
by a baronet's wife, Lady Halford, veiled." The 
chief mourner was " supported " on either side by 
the Countess of Macclesfield and the Countess of 
Ilchester, and during the service sat at the head 
of the coffin. 

But with all the pomp and paraphernalia of 
mourning the real chief-mourner was absent. There 
was no rightful place for the man who loved the 
dead Princess, who was betrothed to her, and whose 
bereavement far exceeded that of any of those who 
were bidden to make a show of grief. General 
FitzRoy is reported to have been ill, and it may 
well have been that he was so. He bore his sorrow 
in silence and alone, while the doleful pageant was 
being enacted in which he had no part. 

An account of the ceremony, issued from the 
Lord Chamberlain's Office, November 14, 1810, is 
here reproduced from the European Magazine for 
that year. 1 

" Down the south aisle, and up the nave into the 
choir, in the following order (the Procession being 
flanked by the Royal Horse Guards, Blue, every 
fourth man bearing a flambeau) 

i Vol. LVIII. pp. 392, 393. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Poor Knights of Windsor 
Pages of the Royal Family 
Pages of their Majesties 

Solicitor to her late Royal Highness : 
Charles Bicknell, Esq. 

Apothecary : Surgeon : 

Robert Battiscombe, Esq. David Dundas, Esq. 

Curate and Rector of the Parish of Windsor : 
Rev. Mr. Gosset Rev. Mr. Plymley 

Physicians who attended her late Royal Highness : 
Dr. Baillie Dr. Sir Henry Halford, Bart. 

Equerries of the Royal Family 
Equerries of their Majesties 

Grooms of the Bedchamber to the King: 
Hon. General Finch General Campbell 

Hon. R. F. Greville Charles Herbert, Esq. 

The Queeris Vice-Chamberlain: 
Lieutenant-Colonel Disbrowe 

Comptroller of His Majesty 's 

Lord George Thynne 

Treasurer of His Majesty's 

Household : 
Earl of Courtown 

The Queen's Master of the Horse : 
Earl Harcourt 

Lords of His Majesty's Bedchamber: 

Right Hon. Lord Arden Right Hon. Lord St. Helens 

Right Hon. Lord Rivers Right Hon. Lord Boston 

Captain of the Yeoman of the Guard: 

Earl of Macclesfield 

Choir of Windsor 



The Romance of Princess Amelia 

The Vice-Chamberlain of His 
Majesty's Household, acting 
as Lord Chamberlain, Lord 
John Thynne 

The Lord Steward of His 
Majesty's Household, Earl 
of Aylesford 

Gentleman Usher of His Majesty, bearing the Coronet 

of her late Royal Highness upon a black cushion 

Vere Warner, Esq. 

Supporters of the Pall: 

Lady Eliz. [Isabella ?] 


Lady George Murray 

in a coffin 
covered with 
Crimson Velvet, 
and a Black Velvet 
Pall adorned with 
eight Escutcheons 
of Her Royal High- 
ness's Arms, the 
Coffin being car- 
ried by eight 
of the 

Chief Mourner 

Supporters of the Pall : 
Viscountess Cranley 

Countess of Ely 

Countess of Chester- 

Supporter to the _ . , .. , Supporter to the 

5. , ,, field, veiled, her 

Chief Mourner, . ' ' 

train borne by a 

veiled, Countess 
of Ilchester 

Baronet's wife, 
Lady Halford, 

Chief Mourner, 
veiled, Countess 
of Macclesfield 

His Royal Highness the Duke 
of Cambridge, in a long black 
cloak, the train borne by one 
of His Royal Highness's 

His Royal Highness the Prince 
of Wales, in a long black 
cloak, the train borne by 
two of His Royal Highness's 

Q 2 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

His Royal Highness the Duke His Royal Highness the Duke 

of York, in a long black cloak, of Clarence, in a long black 

the train borne by one of cloak, the train borne by one 

His Royal Highness's Gentle- of His Royal Highness's 

men Gentlemen 

His Royal Highness the Duke His Royal Highness the Duke 
of Kent, in a long black cloak, of Cumberland, in a long 
his train borne by one of black cloak, the train borne 
His Royal Highness's Gen- by one of His Royal High- 
tlemen ness's Gentlemen 

His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, 
in a long black cloak, the train 
borne by one of His Royal 
Highness's Gentlemen 
Marquis Cornwallis Marquis of Abercorn, K.G. 

Marquis Wellesley, K.G. 

Earl of Chesterfield, K.G. Earl of Westmoreland, K.G. 

Earl Camden, K.G. Earl Bathurst 

Earl of Wilton Earl of Liverpool 

Earl of Harrowby 

Lord Bishop of Salisbury, C.G. 

Right Hon. Lord Mulgrave Right Hon. Lord Walsingham 

Right Hon. Lord Eldon 

Right Hon. Charles York Right Hon. Spencer Perceval 

Right Hon. Robert Dundas Right Hon. Richard Ryder 

Right Hon. Sir David Dundas, K.B. 
Lieutenant-General Calvert 

Count Munster 
Major Price Colonel Taylor 

Ladies Attendants on Her Majesty and the Princesses, viz. 

Lady Albinia Cumberland 

Miss Goldsworthy 

Mrs. Williams 
Hon. Mrs. Egerton Hon. Mrs. Fielding 

Hon. Miss Townshend 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Mademoiselle Beckendorff Madame Beckendorff 

Miss Knight Mrs. Adams 

Miss Planter [Planta] Miss Montmollin [Montmoulin] 

Miss Byerly Miss Gaskin [Gaskoin] 

Mrs. Robinson Mrs. Davenport 

The Queen's and Princess's Dressers. 

"Upon entering the choir, the body was placed 
on tressels, the head towards the Altar; and the 
coronet and cushion were laid on the coffin. The 
chief mourner sat at the head of the corpse; her 
supporters on either side; and the supporters of the 
pall in their places near the body. 

" During the service, which was read by the 
Honourable and Rev. the Dean of Windsor, his 
Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and his Royal 
Brothers, as well as the Knights of the Garter 
present, occupied their respective stalls. The 
Nobility, Privy Councillors, and officers of the 
household, as well as others who had followed the 
body, were placed in the vacant and intermediate 
stalls. The ladies' attendants were in the seat 
below the stalls, on the north side nearest the Altar; 
the Grooms of the Bedchamber, Physicians, Rector 
and Curate of Windsor, Surgeon, Apothecary and 
Solicitor of her late Royal Highness, in the seat 
below the stalls on the south side, nearest the Altar ; 
the Equerries and the Queen's and Princess's other 
Attendants, in the front seats on either side; the 
Pages were arranged below the Altar. 

2 45 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

;< The part of the service before the interment, and 
the anthem being performed, the procession moved 
out of the choir in the order in which it had entered, 
and proceeded up the North aisle of the choir, 
flanked by the Royal Horse Guards, Blue, to the 
place of burial, behind the Altar. 

!< The body being deposited in the vault, and the 
service concluded, Sir Isaac Heard, Garter, after 
a short pause, pronounced near the grave, the style 
of her late Royal Highness, as follows 

' Thus it hath pleased Almighty God to take out 
of this transitory life, unto His Divine Mercy, the 
late most illustrious Princess Amelia, 6th and 
youngest Daughter of his Most Excellent Majesty, 
George the Third, by the Grace of God, of the 
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, 
King, 1 Defender of the Faith ; whom God bless and 
preserve with long life, health and honour, and all 
worldly happiness/ 

"After which the Royal Princes, the Nobility 
and others, who had composed the procession, 
returned having witnessed that every part of this 
mournful and afflicting ceremony had been con- 

1 The title of King of France was discontinued in 1801. 
The arms of France, having been retained in the royal arms 
and borne by the Princess Amelia up to that date, have been 
included in her Royal Highness 's armorial bearings on our 
book. They are taken from an engraving of a date previous 
to 1801. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

ducted with great regularity, decorum, and 

Princess Amelia's death was sincerely mourned 
throughout the country, or at least it was the occa- 
sion of a widespread expression of appreciation 
of a character which had made itself respected 
and loved in a way no other member of the German 
line had hitherto done. Since the Hanoverian suc- 
cession there had been few deaths and none cal- 
culated to awake the loyal sympathy of the nation. 
Poets were everywhere moved to write verses in her 
honour, though it must be confessed that the merits 
of these effusions were not equal to the zeal of their 

Some lines may be cited 

" From every bosom heartfelt sighs arise, 
Responsive echo bears their mournful cries, 
Resounding Thames repeats from shore to shore : 
' Amelia ! loved Amelia is no more ! ' 

The heart of the nation moreover was touched 
by the melancholy effect which this sorrow had 
produced on the royal father, whose serious con- 
dition could no longer be kept from the knowledge 
of the country, although it was still confidently 
hoped by those about him that the King would 

1 European Magazine for 1810, Vol. XXXVIII. p. 324. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

ultimately recover, as he had done on former 

The day after the Princess's funeral the King, 
during a lucid interval, though still in a high fever, 
insisted upon entering into a painful investigation 
of the services and claims of her attendants. 
According to his orders a drawer in his private 
cabinet was opened in which were certain packages 
that he had prepared, containing such donations as 
he desired those persons to accept. On each 
package was duly registered the name of the person 
for whom it was intended. " In going through the 
details of each person's case," writes Lord 
Colchester in his diaries, "he had shewn surprising 
accuracy, but towards the end puzzled himself and 
left off by his own choice." 1 

Among the Princess's most attached servants 
there was one who was not long to be separated 
from her young mistress. 

A memoir of Princess Amelia would be incom- 
plete without an allusion to the death, under 
pathetic circumstances, of Mary Anne Gaskoin, the 
trusted and affectionate servant who had watched 
over her with touching devotion during her last 
illness. She is said to have so deeply taken to heart 
the sufferings and death of her beloved Princess, 

1 Lord Colchester's Diaries, Vol. II. p. 294. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

that she shortly afterwards followed her to the grave. 
Not the least pathetic circumstance associated with 
Mary Anne Gaskoin is that it was by the King's 
command that she was laid to rest as near as possible 
to the royal vault in which lay the remains of his 
lamented daughter, while the afflicted monarch him- 
self, during his almost last interval of sanity, wrote 
the inscription for her monument. 

On a mural tablet which he caused to be erected 
in the cloisters opposite to the royal tombs, may 
be read 

King George III 
caused to be interred near this place 

The Body of Mary l Gaskoin 
Servant to the late Princess Amelia ; 

And this tablet 
To be erected in Testimony of his grateful 


Of the faithful service and attachment 
Of an amiable young woman to his beloved 


Whom she survived only three months 

She died the i8th of February, 1811 

Aged 31 years. 

Jesse, in his life of George III, considers this 
simple tablet as perhaps the most touching among 
the memorials at Windsor. 

1 Mary Anne is clearly intended. The aunt Miss Gaskoin 
was much older. 



1810 (continued} 




IT will hardly be believed that, in spite of the poor 
Princess's numerous written expressions of her 
wishes, and in spite of the extreme anxiety which 
she had shown that they should be strictly carried 
out, her executors not only completely set them 
aside, but actually contrived to over-ride and contra- 
dict the explicit intentions of her will. 

The will of her late Royal Highness was opened 
by her executors the Prince of Wales and the Duke 
of Cambridge (her eldest and her youngest brothers) 
on the day after her death. The contents of it, by 
which she left whatever she had, with trifling excep- 
tions, to General the Honourable Charles FitzRoy, 
though not likely to give satisfaction to her family, 
could not have surprised them. 

" Her Royal Highness " (we quote General Fitz- 
Roy), " left to the Prince of Wales a Sardonix snuff 

box with a picture of King Charles the First; to 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

the Duke of Cambridge some pictures of the 
Princess Mary; to the Princess Mary some tur- 
quoises and garnets and a garnet watch, and every- 
thing else without reserve, jewels, plate, furniture, 
books, papers, clocks, trinkets, whatever money she 
might possess at her decease, except what was neces- 
sary to pay her quarterly bills, she leaves entirely to 
Lieutenant-General Charles Fitzroy. She requests 
the King to pay her two sisters the Princesses Mary 
and Sophia the remainder of the debt she owes them, 
if it should not be liquidated before her death. 
She further requests that her brothers and sisters 
will be assured of her affection, and not take amiss 
her not naming any legacies for them. This is the 
purport of the Will." 1 

It should be stated here that the trifling debts to 
her two sisters alluded to had already been paid off 
during the Princess's lifetime, that the "quarterly 
bills" proved to be of small amount, but that 
the greater part of the ^5,000 which General 
FitzRoy had lent to Princess Amelia remained 

The King was, of course, too deranged to be 
informed of the contents of his daughter's will ; 
although, as we shall see on a later occasion, a 
garbled version of it and the transactions of her 

1 Statement in General FitzRoy 's handwriting among his 
papers (the late Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's). 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

executors was tactfully presented to him by his 
principal physician. 

As to Queen Charlotte, we may be sure that her 
first thought on being informed of the will was to 
hush up everything and to keep the public in 
ignorance of the real state of things. There was 
but one way of doing this, and General FitzRoy' s 
loyalty could always be counted on. He could be 
induced to resign his rights as residuary legatee, and 
to appoint the Prince of Wales and the Duke of 
Cambridge as residuary legatees in his stead, thus 
giving them, as combined executors and residuary 
legatees, uncontrolled disposal of their sister's 
effects. By this plan nobody need know that 
Amelia had left everything to FitzRoy. 

The Prince of Wales, for his part, was well 
satisfied at the prospect of playing a part which 
flattered his vanity by giving him a little patronage ; 
and we shall see that he contrived, by throwing dust 
in the eyes of the public, to pose before it as the 
generous arbiter in family affairs. 

We confess, as we follow the whole transaction 
an'd the correspondence which took place between 
FitzRoy and the lawyers who acted for the Prince, 
that we are inclined to charge the Prince with still 
more unworthy motives. He certainly appears very 
badly in the whole business. To the Duke of 
Cambridge, the other executor, no dishonourable 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

motive attaches. He, not unnaturally, submitted to 
be guided by his eldest brother, now shortly to 
become Regent, at whose special request his sister 
had appointed him her second executor. In fact 
he was at this time the only one of the Prince's 
brothers who was on cordial terms with the Prince, 
and had doubtless been selected for that reason. 

FitzRoy was accordingly sent for in all haste to 
Windsor, and an interview took place between him 
and the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge 
on November 4, the day after the will had been 

Here is FitzRoy's statement of what then occurred. 

; ' The Prince and Duke of Cambridge received 
General FitzRoy in the most kind affectionate and 
gracious manner, read to him the will of the Princess 
Amelia and then stated to him the difficulty under 
which they laboured from the contents of the will, 
as it would probably be very displeasing to the 
King, if it came to his knowledge, and would be very 
awkward for the family in general if the attachment 
which had subsisted between General FitzRoy and 
the Princess Amelia became public by means of this 
will being proved at Doctor's Commons, and more- 
over that secrecy might be more respectful to her 
memory; and as a further inducement impressively 
adding that General FitzRoy would be among the 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

first on his part to study any circumstance that might 
remove any chance of blame attaching to that respect 
due to Princess Amelia's revered memory. General 
FitzRoy replied that he only wished to act in the 
manner most agreeable to the Prince of Wales, and 
that if he would only point out what way would be 
the best for him to act he was ready to do it. To 
this the Prince said that if he would sign a paper 
purporting that he gave up the residuary legatee- 
ship to the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge 
who were executors to the will, it would save 
appearances to the world, and he might rely on it 
that it would be only a nominal resignation of the 
residuary legateeship, for that in point of fact, he, 
General FitzRoy should possess everything agree- 
able to the directions of the Princess Amelia. Upon 
this General FitzRoy wrote a paper relinquishing 
the acting as Residuary Legatee for the distribution 
of the property. But which their Royal Highnesses 
not thinking sufficiently strong they desired him to 
write another, which he instantly did to this effect : 
* I request their Royal Highnesses George Prince 
of Wales and Adolphus Frederick Duke of Cam- 
bridge to accept the office of Residuary Legatee, to 
the Princess Amelia's Will instead of me Charles 
FitzRoy.' The Duke of Cambridge was then 
desired by the Prince of Wales to shew this paper 
to their Solicitor Mr. Bicknell (in an adjoining room) 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

to know if it was valid; he gave it as his opinion 
that it was sufficient, General FitzRoy then shewed 
to the Prince of Wales in confidence a private letter 
from the Princess Amelia to himself dated the same 
day as the will (28th of July 1810) which had been 
transmitted by the Prince through Dr. Pope to 
General FitzRoy and of which he had previously 
received a sealed duplicate from the Princess Amelia 
herself. This letter (No. i) contained her direc- 
tions to General FitzRoy as to the more detailed 
disposal of her property. He then produced a 
sealed paper (No. 2) sent to him in confidence by 
the Princess Amelia dated on the outside July 28th, 
1810, and not to be opened till after her death but 
which had long been in General FitzRoy's posses- 
sion, and when opened proved to be several pages 
of injunctions and former wills of a prior date, one 
made in 1803, ne m 1807, and one in 1809. All 
these General FitzRoy also shewed to the Prince 
keeping back one secret and confidential letter only. 
Upon which the Prince observed that as there were 
some specific wishes mentioned in these old wills, 
it would be a sort of guide to their actions, and as 
General FitzRoy was desired by the Princess in her 
private letter to select such people as he knew she 
loved, and who loved her, as fit persons to receive 
tokens of her benevolence, the Prince conferred as 
to who he (General FitzRoy) thought should come 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

under that description, and some few names were 
put down upon a piece of paper." 

We learn further from another of FitzRoy's 
papers that on this occasion he delivered up to 
the Prince a paper of Princess Amelia's contain- 
ing "particular directions that some parts of the 
residue [of her property] should not come to the 
hands of -particular persons" and that FitzRoy 
signed his resignation on the complete understand- 
ing " that no part of such residue should be disposed 
of without first consulting him," their Royal High- 
nesses " having given him the fullest assurance and 
pledged their honour that they would fulfil the 
wishes of the Testator in the disposal thereof as 
exactly as possible. The Prince then asked 
General FitzRoy," continues the latter, "where he 
was going to, and on hearing he was only to go to 
Cranbourne [the George Villiers's], expressed his 
satisfaction at it, as its being so near Windsor he 
should be able to consult General FitzRoy con- 
stantly as to what should be done; for he again 
assured him that the Princess Amelia's wishes should 
be scrupulously adhered to, and nothing done with- 
out his (General FitzRoy's) perfect concurrence. 

"Very kind and affectionate expressions were 
made use of by the Prince in this conversation to- 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

wards General FitzRoy, and joined in by the Duke 
of Cambridge, such as their considering him in 
esteem as a Brother, and offering their future support 
and protection, and they also both requested General 
FitzRoy not to give up his situation about the King, 
not only to avoid the eclat of a Resignation, but that 
it would vex the King to whom General FitzRoy 
had always been of real use." 

In what way the Prince proved his gratitude to 
FitzRoy in return for these long services of "real 
use " to the King, and how his Royal Highness 
had tricked this gentleman into unwarily trusting 
to his protestations, we shall see. t That General 
FitzRoy rendered himself liable to be accused of 
culpable weakness in thus yielding up the responsi- 
bilities which his betrothed had laid upon him we 
are ready to admit. Highbred in the best sense, he 
was himself too noble to suspect treachery in others ; 
and brave as he may have been in the battle-field, 
it is nevertheless evident that he was not a strong 
man in the ordinary business-affairs of everyday 
life. But it must be remembered in his excuse that 
the Princess Amelia had in the strongest terms her- 
self desired him to put every confidence in the 
Prince of Wales, and that the Prince was the one 
and only member of her family in whom she charged 

him to trust. 

R 257 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Before continuing FitzRoy's statement of what 
took place later, we will here turn to Mrs. Villiers's 
account of what occurred immediately after the 

' Your father and I," she narrates to her daughter 
Lady Theresa Lewis, 1 " were in London at the time 
of the Princess's death and therefore did not see 
General FitzRoy immediately; but we returned the 
next evening 2 to Cranbourne Lodge, and on my 
arrival I found a letter from the Prince of Wales 
telling me that he had had a most satisfactory inter- 
view with poor FitzRoy for whom he felt all the 
affection of a brother, that his conduct had been 
noble, and that he (the Prince) had enjoined him to 
go directly to us at Cranbourne where he trusted 
that my excellent Husband as well as myself would 
do everything in our power to soothe and comfort 
him in his distress. The moment that your father 
read the letter he said to me that he was sure the 
Prince had cheated him in some way and so it 
proved. Within an hour from that time General 
FitzRoy came to us, perfectly blinded by the flattery 
and caresses of the Prince and Duke of Cambridge, 
and gave us the following account of what had 
passed. The Prince and Duke of Cambridge had 
sent for him. They had embraced him with a 

1 The late Sir Villiers Lister's Papers. 

2 It was the evening of the 4th November. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

fraternal hug. The Prince had told him he loved 
him as a brother, that he should always consider 
him as such, that he had never loved any of his 
sisters as he had loved his dear Amelia, that he 
looked upon him as her husband, and had no other 
wish but to fulfil every request of hers, that he 
(General FitzRoy) was probably aware that every- 
thing of hers was left by her to him, and that of 
course he should have everything, but that at this 
moment there were again alarms for the sanity of 
the King, and that as all the family believed that 
he had never even suspected any attachment be- 
tween his daughter and General FitzRoy * it would 
simplify matters and make everything easy if he 
would nominally assign everything to them (the 
Prince and Duke) in order that it might appear to 
the King that all had been left by her to them, and 
that then General FitzRoy's name should not 
appear at all, although her wishes would most strictly 
be acted up to. Poor General FitzRoy believed it 
all, and instantly assented ! 2 The Prince had taken 

1 It does not follow, because all the family assumed this, 
that Amelia had not on her deathbed secretly informed her 
father of her betrothal. 

2 It was immediately after the conclusion of his inter- 
view with the Princes, when, overcome with emotion and, 
as Mrs. Villiers says, blinded by the flatteries of the Prince 
of Wales, that the following rough copy of a letter to the 
Prince was indited by FitzRoy 

"Filled as my heart is with sensations it is unequal to 
R 2 259 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

the precaution of having his Solicitor (Mr. Bicknell) 
in the adjoining room ready to draw up a legal 
instrument by which General FitzRoy renounced all 
claim to all and everything that the Princess Amelia 
had bequeathed to him General FitzRoy hardly 
even read it over but signed it immediately upon 
which he received many more affectionate assur- 
ances, and was advised to go and pass a few days 
with the Villiers at Cranbourne Lodge, to which 
place the Prince said he would send to him as he 

express by the flattering reflections of the most gracious and 
too gratifying kindness your Royal Highness has shown me 
I should feel myself . . . not acting up to myself, and still 
more to such never-to-be-forgotten marks of invaluable 
affection, if I did not venture to ease a grateful though 
distracted mind in thus pouring forth its inward vows of 
the most unfeigned veneration for that consolatory favour 
you have shown me, and engraven for ever on my heart as 
the comfort I am to look up to through life. To the memory 
and transcendant purity of affection of the adored and de- 
parted angel I owe every self -value I can ever possess; and 
for her revered sake I wish to guide my actions as she could 
wish, as my every thought is centred in that sole object. 
And having been honoured by the professions of affectionate 
protection your Royal Highness has in so superlatively 
generous a manner expressed, has given that sort of value 
to my affliction which I feel sensible makes me consider 
myself more worthy of acting up to that Respect my beloved 
Amelia would have most wished I should have^made choice 
of, by assuring your Royal Highness of that preference 
in her love [for yourself] which your kindness to her and 
us (I trust I may presume now to say) ever claimed and 
which has long been jointly imparted to each other." (The 
late Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers.) 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

should wish constantly to confer with him ! ! ! So 
completely was he blinded by their flattery (though 
to do the Duke of Cambridge Justice he seemed to 
have taken very little part in the transactions beyond 
silently assenting to this robbery) that he was more 
than half angry at our telling him that he had been 
robbed and pillaged of everything. He did wait 
at Cranbourne for many days, he did expect that 
summons or that communication from the Prince 
which he was so frequently to send, but no messenger 
came no letter no notice whatever." 







WE now return to FitzRoy's statement. To quote 
further from it : " General FitzRoy waited at Cran- 
bourne from the 4th to the I2th November with- 
out receiving any communication from the Prince, 
when he went to London with Mr. and Mrs. 
George Villiers; and on the evening of the i2th 
received a packet from the Duke of Cambridge 
[No. 3] to which he returned an answer [No. 4] and 
on Thursday the i$th he had by order of their 
Royal Highness an interview with Mr. Bicknell (the 
solicitor of their Royal Highnesses), who brought 
a letter from the Duke of Cambridge [No. 5]. 1 Mr. 

1 This letter is signed by the Prince of Wales and the 
Duke of Cambridge 

" Windsor, November i^th 1810. 
"My DEAR FiTzRov, 

"We have thought it more advisable and more con- 
venient to all parties to send Mr. Bicknell to you, who you 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Bicknell declined on their part giving General Fitz- 
Roy a copy of the Princess Amelia's will to avoid 
publicity, and also declined giving him any list of 
the Things on the plea of their being too numerous, 
but assured him that any suggestion he might have to 
make would b"e readily attended to by the executors. 
General FifzRoy then gave Mr Bicknell a paper 
[No. 6] stating his wishes had he had the means 
of making them more explicit to the executors. Mr. 
Bicknell alluded to the Prince of Wales' intentions 
of having the Diamonds valued to pay any debts. 
To this General FitzRoy said he hoped this would 
not be done hastily or without consulting him. 
Nothing further passed till the 22nd of November, 
when Mr. Bicknell 'desired again to see General 
FitzRoy and shewed him a list of things which 
had already been given to different people without 

know was solicitor to poor dear Amelia [he was suggested 
to the Princess by the Prince], and for that reason approved 
by us. He has been with us everywhere, and therefore will 
be able to give you any information you may wish to have, 
as he is perfectly informed of all our sentiments, for you 
well know that we never can have but one object the 
seeing her wishes strictly adhered to and executed to the 
best of our intentions and powers. 

"We remain, yours very sincerely, 



(Original among General FitzRoy 's papers in the late 
Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's possession.) 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

any previous consultation with General FitzRoy 
many names added since he had seen the list, and 
many that General FitzRoy felt would have been 
very unpleasant to The Princess Amelia. 1 Mr. 
Bicknell also informed him that the Prince had 
caused the diamonds to be valued, that they were 
valued at i8oo, and that he should pay the debts 
with the amount. To this General FitzRoy objected, 
saying the Jewels were intended by the Princess for 
him and his disposal and that he must beg to have 
them, otherwise he should not consider he fulfilled 
Princess Amelia's wishes. Mr. Bicknell alluded to 
the Paper General FitzRoy had signed the 4th 
November by which he gave up his Power of Claim. 
The Prince also wished (Mr. Bicknell said) to 
retain the music-books belonging to the Princess 
Amelia, and with respect to the Plate it was to be 
sent to him [General FitzRoy] but the Cypher and 
Crown previously effaced. This General FitzRoy 
strongly objected to as the most painful insult to his 
feelings. On General FitzRoy's return to his House 
(previous to his setting out to return immediately to 
Cranbourne), he thought it better to put his senti- 
ments in writing, and therefore desired Mr. Bicknell 

1 A list of the different articles allotted to the different 
individuals by the executors of the late Princess Amelia is 
among General FitzRoy's papers (Mrs. Lowther's), and is 
given in our Appendix III. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

by letter to represent to their Royal Highnesses most 
respectfully, but decidedly, his objection to the 
jewels or any other things being exchanged for 
money, also to the selection of some names as well 
as Donations, and requested an answer from Mr. 
Bicknell. He receives no answer from him, but on 
the 25th November the Prince of Wales had a con- 
versation with Mr. George Villiers l on the subject 
in which H.R.H. said that General FitzRoy had 
given up his right to everything, that the Princess 
Amelia had in a former Will expressed her desire 
the jewels should be sold to pay her Debts, that he 
had given the full value for them and already 
presented the Jewels to Princess Mary meaning to 
take the Debts on himself, of which however 
General Fitzroy has reason to believe none existed 
except a few Quarterly Bills to Tradespeople which 
there was money enough to cover. H.R.H. 
expressed great displeasure and was very intem- 
perate in his manner, at any difficulty ensuing to the 
arrangements he had made, and desired Mr. Villiers 
to talk the matter over with General FitzRoy and 

1 Mrs. Villiers, alluding to this interview, says that her 
husband "ventured to remind the Prince of the actual debt 
in money due to General FitzRoy from the Princess Amelia 
a debt of which he (the Prince) had been apprised by me 
during the Princess's life at her request, and he replied, 
1 Of course I shall take that upon myself. I shall pay it. ' " 
Letter of Mrs. Villiers to Lady Theresa Lewis. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

report to him the result. H.R.H. also desired Mr. 
Villiers would inform him of the result of his con- 
versation with General FitzRoy in which he wished 
Mr. Villiers to recommend to him to make an 
apology to the Prince and Duke of Cambridge. 
On the 27th Mr. Villiers wrote to the Prince saying 
he had reported to General FitzRoy the substance 
of what H.R.H. entrusted to him, but had not been 
able to do away in him an ardent desire to hear 
from Mr. Bicknell and to confer with Lord Euston 1 
conceiving he [himself] had not been made suffi- 
ciently a Party to the fulfilment of the Will. On the 
3Oth November General FitzRoy received from Mr. 
Bicknell the letters [No. 7] accompanied by the 
Snuff-Box and Picture left to H.R.H. the Prince 
of Wales by the Princess Amelia in her will, to 
which he (General FitzRoy) returned an answer with 
the snuff-box and picture." 

The Prince's sending to FitzRoy the snuff-box 
and picture which the Princess had expressly be- 
queathed to the Prince was a gratuitous imperti- 
nence on the part of his Royal Highness, not only 
to FitzRoy, but also to the memory of his dead 
sister. This no doubt FitzRoy keenly felt when he 
returned these articles to the Prince. His eyes were 
now opened to the shifty proceedings of the Prince, 

i Eldest son of Duke of Grafton, who was uncle to 
General FitzRoy. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

to the indifference displayed by him as to his sister's 
last wishes, and to the way in which he himself had 
been entrapped by solemn assurance never intended 
to be kept. He thereupon drew up the statement 
which we have just read. 

To dispose of the diamonds without FitzRoy's 
leave was inconsistent with the Prince's pledged 
word. It was, besides, insulting to the feelings of 
FitzRoy, and still more so to the wishes of the dead 
Princess. It may be contended that the Princess 
Mary was a suitable person to have her sister's 
diamonds. Be it so but Princess Amelia had 
willed otherwise. 

Let us now again refer to Mrs. Villiers, 1 to whom 
Princess Amelia had confided all her wishes as well 
as the contents of her last will. 

"Having made .this will," says this lady, "she 
gave a paper to General FitzRoy telling him exactly 
what her wishes were as to the 'disposal of her 
property. The first wish she had was that he should 
repay himself the remainder of the debt due to him, 
whatever it might be at the time of her death, by the 
sale of her jewels. So anxious was she on this point 
that 'many months before her death she had 
requested me to have her jewels valued. Of course 
I did so, and as the diamonds alone were valued at 

1 Letter to her daughter Lady Theresa Lewis. The late 
Sir Villiers Lister's Papers. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

above 3,000 1 she was quite easy on the subject. 
She then expressed a wish that he should retain 
her plate, furniture, books, and whatever else he 
pleased, but wished him to select from her jewellery 
remembrances for certain persons whose names she 
gave him and to whom she was much attached, and 
desired that he would say to each that it was by 
her desire they were so appropriated. She named 
some particular things that she wished me to have, 
and added : when all this is done if there are any 
things you do not want, or if all the diamonds are 
not sold, always remember that little Theresa 
Villiers is my adopted child." 2 

Among FitzRoy's papers is a valuation 3 of the 

1 It will be seen that ^3,000 was the highest figure given 
by Messrs. Flower and Manning for all the jewels. 

2 Afterwards Lady Theresa Lister (Lewis). 

3 List of Princess Amelia's jewels, June 1808 
A pair of diamond earrings. 

A diamond tiara ; a diamond feather ; a diamond cross ; a 
diamond padlock ; a diamond comb with coloured stones ; 
a diamond butterfly ; a diamond belt ; two diamond sleeve 
brooches ; a hair-brooch with diamonds ; a sapphire ring 
set with diamonds ; an emerald ring set with diamonds ; an 
enamelled watch set with diamonds, and chain to match; 
an enamelled locket set with diamonds hung to a watch- 
chain to match. 

A pair of pearl earrings ; two rows of pearl for the neck ; 
a pearl chain ; a large pearl locket ; a ditto small ; a 
pearl brooch with hair; a pair of pearl bracelets; a pearl 
feather; a pearl comb; a pearl crescent; a pearl tiara on 
black velvet ; two pearl brooches for sleeves. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Princess Amelia's jewels taken during her lifetime, 
in which they are valued at "between 2,500 and 
3,000," signed by Messrs. Flower and Manning 
the 1 7th June, 1808. To this paper there is an 
endorsement, in a different handwriting and of a date 
some years later, to which is added this comment, 
"whereas the Prince of Wales offered 1,800, which 
was refused by the Honourable Charles FitzRoy, on 
which the Prince appropriated them to himself." 

In regard to the Prince having, as alleged, pre- 
sented the diamonds to Princess Mary (afterwards 

A pair of turquoise earrings, necklace, bracelets and brooch 
set with diamonds; a gold Venetian chain. 

A pair of topaz earrings ; necklace with drop, and bandeau 
with drop for the head, and pair of bracelets. 

Two brooches for sleeves ; one large stone for the head, 
an arrow and a topaz in centre; a topaz cross set with 

A pair of pink topaz earrings; necklace with cross; 
bracelets ; single stone with gold crescent ; two small brooches 
for sleeves. 

A pair of aqua marine earrings ; necklace with cross ; bar 
for the hair; large brooch, and two small ones for sleeves. 

Three pairs of garnet earrings; two necklaces and cross; 
a cross; sprig for the hair; top and drop for the hair; 
bracelets ; three brooches ; a garnet watch and chain. 

A large amethyst brooch and two small ones. 


June 14, 1808. 

The value of the above articles we suppose to be from 

2,500 to 3,000. 


June 17, 1808. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Duchess of Gloucester) it seems probable that, at 
the request of the Prince, she had from the first taken 
charge of the diamonds after her sister's death, but 
that in the end she did not feel justified in retaining 
them. It appears certain that she did not accept 

FitzRoy was now thoroughly ill. He writes in 
reply to the Prince's inquiries, " Your Royal High- 
ness is very gracious in enquiring after me, but 
indeed it is impossible for anything ever to restore 
my happiness or peace of mind, and comfort is a 
sensation I can never again expect to experience," 
and he alludes to " the important point of adhering 
to the wishes of one whose commands can never be 
effaced from my mind." 

On December 2, 1810 he wrote to Mr. Bicknell 
a letter of which the following is his duplicate 

" General FitzRoy though very unwell thinks Mr. 
Bicknell may perhaps be waiting some reply to the 
letter he left from the executors of Princess Amelia, 
and though he must ever more and more lament that 
there should exist the smallest difference as to 
carrying into effect the revered wishes left in charge 
to them, as it is not from any self-assumption or 
opinion of his own that General FitzRoy can ever 
withhold his approbation, but in compliance to the 
most strong and valued injunctions to him from 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Princess Amelia herself, which he feels he has no 
right to deviate from; and all he struggles to repre- 
sent is that their Royal Highnesses should conde- 
scend to pay that attention to their own natural 
feelings, and spontaneous Pledge of carrying her 
Royal Highness The Princess Amelia's will strictly, 
scrupulously and conscientiously into execution. 
That done General FitzRoy cannot but feel that 
respect and deference which he wishes to show 
(exclusive of the dictates which his situation must 
point out) and which the Executors would ever have 
a right to claim from him. General FitzRoy under 
the circumstances requests Mr. Bicknell will have 
the goodness to send to himself any further com- 
munication in writing, and begs leave to suggest his 
wish to be allowed to send a confidential person to 
confer with Mr. Bicknell should it become 

Some weeks later there arrived at Sholebrook 
Lodge, FitzRoy's residence in Northamptonshire, 
without any previous notice, a load containing some 
empty book-shelves, a few books, the music-books, 
a very small quantity of plate from which the Prin- 
cess's cypher and coronet had been clumsily effaced, 
and certain other articles, in what condition, and 
how carelessly packed, the following letter (labelled 

No. 12) describes; and this was all that General 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

FitzRoy ever received whether of money, jewels 
or any other valuables. 1 

" General FitzRoy's compliments to Mr Bicknell. 
He thinks it right to inform him the Packages 
No. 33, 34, 35, 37, containing an Inkstand, a clock, 
a Red Box, and a Mahogany Dressing-Box brought 
separate from the other Packages loaded in the 
Waggons, on being examined, the Mahogany Box 
was sent open and empty and without any key ; and 
the Red Box apparently containing something, like- 
wise without a key ; and as it is naturally impossible 
that General Fitzroy can proceed with any Regu- 
larity on the fulfilment of Princess Amelia's wishes 
without the Instruments so essential to do so, he 
cannot refrain from repeating his former request to 
Mr. Bicknell, and urging for a Copy of the Will 
and Codicil, and a list of the things of which 
Princess Amelia mentions in her private letters of 
Instruction to General FitzRoy having deposited an 
Inventory for his Guidance in some Red Box, and 
this circumstance, most respectfully represented, 
General Fitzroy cannot conceive can be considered 
by the executors as any impropriety on his part, are 
so necessary for the fulfilment of Her Royal High- 
ness's wishes, as well as appertaining to those 

1 From Mrs. Villiers's account and General FitzRoy's 
notes combined. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

revered Injunctions bequeathed to him, which gives 
him the only Claim he assumes to every object he 

Still no copy of the Will was granted to him 
whom the Princess had constituted her heir, while 
his sister Lady Dungannon, the Princess's " dearest 
friend and sister Charlotte," was to be denied 
the " remembrance " which had been bequeathed 
to her. 

A letter from FitzRoy's confidential friend Mr. 
William Baldwin concludes the records of this 
correspondence so discreditable to the Prince of 

Letter endorsed "No. 15 Baldwin's note to me 
and my answer to Bicknell i8th December 1810." 
(The answer to Bicknell was not preserved.) 

"Brook Street, Deer. \%th 1810. 

" I received yours enclosing Mr. Bicknell's 
letter of yesterday and I am sorry to say that I can 
perceive too much of a settled plan to disgust and 
offend. I mean particularly by the offer of the 
effects such as they are, from Kew and Weymouth, 
to be sent if you wish them. I would recommend it 
to you to answer the Letter to the effect following, 

if you approve of it : That in compliance with 
s 273 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

their Royal Highness' wishes you will present no 
picture to Lady Dungannon, 1 although it would 
have been much more satisfactory to you if you 
could have been entrusted with a copy of the will 
of the Princess Amelia in order that you might, 
from that, have assured Lady Dungannon of the 
kind remembrance of Her Royal Highness in her 
last Act. 

:< That you begged to decline any answer to the 
other part of his letter as well as all further corre- 
spondence upon a subject which only tended to 
increase your afflictions for which reason you will 
entreat some friend to act for you whenever it may 
be necessary. 

" I think you had better send me a Copy of 
your Statement of the Proceedings, and I will 
thank you for a Copy of my Letter to you of 
yesterday morning as I still fear that the business 
of the Diamonds cannot be adjusted as you would 
wish it. 

" I am, my dear Sir, 

" Your most faithful friend, 


'A statement of FitzRoy's case as submitted to 
counsel is given in our appendix together with Mr. 
Park's opinion of it, dated December 27, 1810. 

1 His sister. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

" I think it more than possible," concludes Mr. 
Park, 1 " that if the fact of the condition which accom- 
panied the renunciation [of the residuary legatee- 
ship] can be established, and the non-compliance 
with, or rather the direct contravention of that con- 
dition can be proved, a Court of Equity, where 
alone such a matter is cognizable, will interpose to 
restore such a legatee to his original rights which 
he had thus unwarily relinquished. But I am of 
opinion the residuary devisee cannot do this by 
any act of his own ; nor can he by his own authority 
resume the power he has thus improvidently aban- 

FitzRoy took no further steps to retrieve his lost 

1 See Appendix IV. 










MEANWHILE the deranged King in one of his calmer 
moments was tactfully informed by his doctor, Sir 
Henry Halford, of so much of the executors' pro- 
ceedings as was considered desirable for him to 
know, and his approval, such as it was worth, artfully 
obtained. Indeed nothing was more calculated to 
silence FitzRoy by appealing to his loyalty, than 
the King's approval of the course which had been 

" Sir Henry," says Miss Frances Williams Wynn 1 
in her Diary of a Lady of Quality, " describes him- 
self as having had a very awkward subject to discuss 

1 P. 213. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

with the King. The death of Princess Amelia was 
known to him. Every day the attendants expected 
and dreaded questions as to her property, her will, 
&c., the bequest of everything to General FitzRoy 
was a subject so very delicate to touch upon. The 
Queen dared not, Percival and the Chancellor 
successively undertook the disclosure and shrunk 
from it, imposing it on Sir Henry. Never he says 
can he forget the feeling with which having 
requested some private conversation with the King 
after the other physicians were gone, he was called 
into a window with the light falling so full on his 
countenance that even the poor blind King could 
see it. He asked whether it would be agreeable to 
hear now how Princess Amelia had disposed her 
little property. * Certainly, certainly, I want to 
know ' with great eagerness. Sir Henry reminded 
him that at the beginning of his illness he had 
appointed FitzRoy to ride with her; how he had 
left him with her at Weymouth, how it was natural 
and proper that she should leave him some token for 
these services; that excepting jewels she had nothing 
to leave, and had bequeathed them all to him, that 
the Prince of Wales thinking jewels a very inappro- 
priate bequest for a man had given FitzRoy a 
pecuniary compensation for them, his family by the 

bye (adds Miss Wynn) always said it was very 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

inadequate * and had distributed slight tokens to all 
the attendants and friends of the Princess, giving 
the bulk of the jewels to Princess Mary, her most 
constant and kindest of nurses. Upon this the poor 
King exclaimed, ' Quite right, just like the Prince 
of Wales/ and no more was said." 

Nothing in truth could be more judicious and 
proper under the circumstances than the way in 
which the doctor thus approached his insane patient 
in this delicate matter. Admitting with Miss 
Williams Wynn that Sir Henry's stories were apt to 
redound to his own credit, one can nevertheless 
appreciate from this incident how deserve'd was the 
success of this distinguished physician whose invalu- 
able qualities as a courtier made him equally a 
persona grata with the Prince Regent, the King and 
the whole Royal Family. Indeed, as one reads the 
statement of Sir Henry Halford, nothing would 
appear more convincing than the version presented 
to the King, nothing more praiseworthy than the 
proceedings of the Prince throughout the whole 

But as we turn to the obituary notices of poor 
Princess Amelia which appeared in the contempo- 
rary magazines, it is with a feeling of disgust that 

1 Miss Williams Wynn was misinformed. General FitzRoy 
accepted no pecuniary compensation of any kind. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

we read the Court-inspired accounts of her will. It 
will suffice to quote one of these from the Gentle- 
man's Magazine for 1810. 

: 'The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cam- 
bridge are the Executors of her will which was 
opened on the 4th instant. The Prince, the 
residuary Legatee, has very handsomely presented 
her jewels, &c., to the Princess Mary her favourite 
sister. 1 She had directed them to be sold to defray 
her debts ; but the Prince has taken these wholly on 

We remember to have heard of a distinguished 
lady who had the good fortune to survive and to 
read with pleasure obituary notices of herself which 
appeared in the papers on the premature announce- 
ment of her death. But with what feelings of 
astonishment and indignation would Princess Amelia 
have read the announcement which we have quoted 
above ! Poor Princess ! She had prayed that her 

1 Equally misleading are some lines of poetry which appear 
in the same magazine. 

" On two fond breasts my fleeting soul relies 
Oh ! my loved Mary name for ever dear." 

Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. LXXX. p. 646. 

The two alluded to are the King and Princess Mary. No 
one knew better than this excellent elder sister that her dead 
sister's last sighs were for another than herself. "Tell him 
I die blessing him " had been Amelia's last words. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

spirit might ever watch over her beloved. Let us 
trust that her spirit had passed to where the things 
of earth cannot enter to disturb or distress. 

To return to the Prince of Wales. 

General FitzRoy attended the levee in order to 
pay his homage to the Regent as representing the 
Crown. Will it be believed? The Prince Regent 
turned his back on him on the very man whom when 
he last saw him he had addressed as a "brother." 
This was truly, " Just like the Prince of Wales ! " 

One more allusion before we have done with the 
Prince Regent. 

Three years after the death of Princess Amelia 
"we find," says the historian Jesse, "the Prince of 
Wales deeply affected by the mere mention of 
his sister's name. { He burst into tears,' writes 
Miss Knight, 'when I mentioned Princess Amelia 
and regretted he could not more fully comply with 
her last wishes seemed embarrassed and exceed- 
ingly overcome.' ' 

Jesse commenting on this incident attributes 
the Prince's emotion to affection for an idolized 
sister. We would hope that his tears were those of 
remorse and shame if indeed so shallow a nature 
could be capable of any depth of generous feeling. 

As time went on, all expectation that the King 
would recover was unhappily doomed to disappoint- 
ment, and for the remaining ten years of his life he 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

lived in a world of his own, peopled by the creations 
of his disordered imagination. "When he was at 
length led to speak of his beloved daughter," says 
Jesse, 1 "it was under the happy delusion that 
she was in Hanover not only alive and well, but 
endowed with the gifts of perpetual youth and 

A glimpse of the hapless Monarch in the summer 
after his daughter's death is afforded by a letter of 
Lady Albinia Cumberland to her daughter, 2 dated 
Windsor, July 31, 1811 (Lady Albinia was in 
attendance on the Princesses at the time). 

' ( The K g remains in the same state, he has 
been worse but is now rather better again as to 
bodily health. The mind is the same constant 
talking, laughing, sometimes singing. His conver- 
sation for now a fortnight was with imaginary Beings 
or rather those that are dead particularly Prince 
Octavius 3 a Prince who died at 5 years of age and 
whom he doated on. He formed a plan of his 
marriage supposing him 17. ... He fancied he 
had the power of raising persons that are dead, and 
making them 17, and that his having had an 

1 George HI, Vol. III. p. 553. 

2 Mrs. Alexander Gordon of Ellon, whose daughter the 
Hon. Mrs. Boyle possesses the letter. 

3 Prince Octavius, the eighth son of George III, born 
February 23, 1779, died May 3, 1783, buried in Westminster 
Abbey and thence transferred to Windsor. Burke's Peerage. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

interview with the Almighty caused this power. He 
could only be persuaded to dress in white, which was 
by wearing a towel, bed-gown and drawers no 
stockings and only gaiters. AH his ideas were on 
Purity. He would only drink water or milk and 
would not eat. Sometimes he thought himself in 
Heaven and that it was the day of Judgment, and 
spoke for all the wicked. . . . Poor man ! He appears 
always happy, except when it is necessary to oppose 
him in his wishes then his rage is excessive. 

" I am very comfortable here and they are all very 
kind to me. The Queen most particularly so. I 
have been taking a very long walk with the Prin- 
cesses and am quite fatigued, and the only one of the 
party who is so. ... Poor things ! how I do pity 
them ! But no one so much as Princess Sophia. 
She is quite broken-hearted ! " 

A touching memento of the poor King was 
treasured by General FitzRoy and still exists a 
tiny packet of hair with the accompanying letter 1 
from Colonel Sir Herbert Taylor, dated " .Windsor, 
August 16, 1816." 


" I send you some of our dear King's hair 
as I promised when we met at Manners'. 2 It was 

1 The late Honourable Mrs. W. Lowther's Papers. 

2 General Manners the equerry who ten years before used 
to play chess with the King alternately with FitzRoy. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

longer when he was last shaved, but I have not any 
of that. He continues very quiet and in good bodily 

" Believe me ever 

' Yours very truly, 


In the following month, September 1816, General 
FitzRoy married Eliza daughter of Samuel Francis 
Barlow, Esq. and widow of Clavering Savage, Esq. 

The Royal Family, who, with the exception of 
the Prince Regent, had continued to show regard 
and friendship for General FitzRoy, remained to the 
end on terms of intimacy with him and with his 
wife. General and Mrs. FitzRoy were frequently 
the guests of the Duke of Sussex. 1 

The hero of the romance of Princess Amelia died 
October 18, 1831, in his seventieth year. 

His widow survived him till 1838. 

She bequeathed her husband's papers and effects 
to her sister, wife of the eminent Judge Sir James 
Parke, Lord Wensleydale. The youngest and last 
surviving daughter of Lord and Lady Wensley- 
dale the late Hon. Mrs. William Lowther suc- 

1 The late Mrs. Lowther remembered frequently driving 
as a child with her aunt Mrs. FitzRoy to the blind Princess 
Sophia's house in Kensington, and waiting in the "charrot" 
while her aunt paid visits to the Princess. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

ceeded to the possession of General FitzRoy's 
papers. Mrs. Lowther also inherited, besides the 
books and music which had belonged to Princess 
Amelia, and which the Prince Regent had so grudg- 
ingly sent to General FitzRoy, the following things 
given by Princess Amelia during her lifetime to her 
betrothed husband 

A miniature of Princess Amelia, one of Princess 
Sophia, and one of George III. 

A purse made by Princess Amelia. 

A mother-of-pearl and gold cork-screw in shape 
of hammer. 

A bloodstone needle-case. 

A mother-of-pearl note-book moulded in gold. 

A gold fish with ruby eyes. 

A dressing-box with silver fittings and initial 
"A." 1 

These were the treasured mementos of the 

Amid the melancholy spectacle of the Royal 
Family a hundred years ago the figure of the gentle 

1 Some sapphire brooches which had belonged to Princess 
Amelia were stolen in 1880 by thieves who broke into 
Ampthill Park, then the residence of the Honourable William 
and Mrs. Lowther. 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

Amelia stands forth unsullied. But, while we review 
the early decades of the nineteenth century, another, 
a grander and a more illustrious figure emerges 
before our imagination, standing out all the more 
vividly by contrast with its gloomy and ignoble back- 
ground. Then do we realize the greatness and 
dignity of character of Queen Victoria, which could 
build up the loyalty of the nation towards the throne 
a loyalty which had been so sorely tested by her 
predecessors, but which, reconstructed by her on the 
firm basis of respect and love, all her children and 
her successors have done so much to strengthen and 
to cement. 




THE following letters, or extracts from letters, 
although they have no direct connection with Prin- 
cess Amelia, are not without interest in greater or 
less degree. The originals are either addressed to 
or written by Lady Albinia Cumberland, the Lady- 
in-Waiting who figures in this memoir. Parts of this 
lady's correspondence have already been given in 
the body of the book. The whole is in the posses- 
sion of her granddaughter the Honourable Mrs. 
R. Boyle at Huntercombe Manor, and she kindly 
allows the following to be published. 





The Lady Jane Dundas * to the Lady Albinia 

1 Daughter of John second Earl of Hopetown, and wife 
of Henry Dundas, the statesman, afterwards first Viscount 
Melville. She married secondly Lord Wallace. 

Appendix I 

" 2ist July [ijyj\. 

" Wimbledon. 


" I have just received a letter from the Queen 
[Charlotte] in which she says ' I look upon Lady 
Albinia's letter as accepting the place, and must beg 
you to acquaint her how happy I shall be to see her 
in that situation, and as I find by her letter that she 
is in our neighbourhood, it might perhaps be more 
convenient and less expensive to her to come over 
to Windsor to be presented in private, where she 
would make acquaintance with the Princesses. Will 
you be so good as to mention this to her, and then to 
let me know when I may send for her. A muslin 
dress is everything required at this place, and if she 
pleases a hat.' I have copied this part of the 
Queen's letter as I thought your ladyship might wish 
to know exactly what she said, and I am so con- 
vinced that you will find the Princesses all kindness 
and good-humour that you will find it most agreeable 
to yourself to pay them a visit at Windsor (as the 
Queen proposes) that I shall hope to hear by the 
bearer of this what you wish me to write to her in 
answer, and I fancy there is no time to lose, as they 
go so soon to Weymouth. I ought to ask your 
forgiveness for taking up so much of your time, but 
I am convinced you will forgive it in favour of my 

motive for being so particular, which is to save you 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

as much trouble as I can, and I hope you will 
believe me 

" Dear Lady Albinia 
: 'Your Ladyship's humble and obedient servant 


[Endorsed 1797] 



H.R.H. Princess Sophia to the Lady Albinia 
Cumberland [Extract]. 

..." I have received the Queen's commands to 
acquaint you that she wishes you would be in readi- 
ness to come to-morrow when the Prince of Wirtem- 
berg is expected. All the household is to attend, 
and every lady in Mantuas. . . . Your affecte Friend, 




H.R.H. Princess Mary to the Lady Albinia Cum- 
berland [1797]. 


" I am desired by P ss Royal to return you 

many thanks for ,the very 'beautiful present you 

Appendix I 

have been so good as to send her by ' Gooley.' She 
really is quite delighted with it as well as Mama 
who has taken this marke of your affection and 
respect to my Sister most kindly. P 55 Royal had 
intended writing herself, but she is so very hurried 
at this moment that I assured her you would not take 
it ill her begging me to write this note for her. 
Though I shall have the pleasure of seeing you this 
evening as we go to the concert, yet notwithstanding 
that, it may be convenient my letting you know this 
morning that we go to the drawing to-morrow, that 
you may not be so hurried as usual. 

" I remain, dear Lady Albinia, 

" Your affec te 

" MARY. 

" Wednesday morning? 


MAY 1799. 

H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth to the Lady Albinia 


" Before I give you a message from my 
brother Frederick [Duke of York] let me return 
you my thanks for your kind congratulations on my 
birthday, which though I ever should have felt 

grateful for, I felt doubly so the day when you was 
T 289 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

in the midst of all your trouble about your Father, 1 
who I most sincerely hope is getting better. I 
shall be very happy to hear so from yourself, and 
hope you will favour me with a few lines. Now 
for Frederick's commission, he hopes to have the 
pleasure of seeing you at Oatlands on Thursday 
next by half after one o'clock, but as he sends no 
cards [of invitation] on account of not being able to 
have half the numbers he wished, fearing it should 
hurt the Duchess [his wife] he has ordered me to 
invite, in a very private and quiet way, those he 
terms our friends, which rather puts poor me in a 
fuss, but that is quite between friends. He desires 
me to tell you he wishes you would in the same 
manner, name his instructions to your brother Lord 
Hobart, Lord and Lady Auckland and the Miss 
Edens. 2 If your brother is married before, our 
good wishes for his happiness will follow him; but 
then do not forget L d and L y A. and their three 
daughters. In case you should wish to know about 
the dress, the ladies wore muslin and hats, and the 
gentlemen the Windsor dressed uniform (those who 
have it) with swords, and those who have it not, their 
frock uniforms. My sisters desire me to tell you you 
must arrange about going down [to Oatlands] for 

1 The Earl of Buckinghamshire. 

2 Lord Auckland's daughters, with one of whom Pitt was 
in love. 


Appendix I 

the ladies take care of themselves, at least, as yet, 
Mama has said nothing, except that Augusta and 
me go with the King and Her, so there is but one 
Coach beside. If you wish to hear any more, or have 
anything to ask I shall be very happy to assist you 
in anything. If you are asked about your invitation, 
you can always get off by saying you have had no 

" Your affectionate 


" I write in great haste and nearly asleep as I 
am just going to bed. So good night." 

" Q- L. [Queen's Lodge], 
"May 24th 1799." 



Extracts from a letter from the Lady Albinia 
Cumberland to her daughter Albinia, Mrs. 
Alexander Gordon (of Ellon). 

"Windsor [1811 The summer after Princess 
Amelia's death]. 

" I am very comfortable here. They are all very 
kind to me. The Queen particularly so. I am much 
alone, but that you know I have no objection to. ... 
I have been four hours in the Phaeton, and when I 

came in Miss Townshend, so you may guess how I 
T 2 291 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

feel ! and then it was time to dress. Princess Char- 
lotte is here. She is grown and improved in looks, 
but I do not think her manner dignified, as a Prin- 
cess' ought to be, or indeed as I should wish a 
daughter of mine to behave. She hates her ' Granny ' 
as she calls her [Queen Charlotte] loves nobody 
here except Princess Mary and Sophia, goes swag- 
gering about, and she twangs hands with all the 
men, is in awe of no one, and glories in her inde- 
pendent way of thinking. Her passion is Horses 
that and mathematics are the only amusements she 
has. Her riding is beautiful no fear of course- 
gallops and leaps over every ditch like a schoolboy 
gave her groom a cut with her whip about the 
back to-day and told him he was always in the way. 
This was in good humour though, but it is not acting 
en Princesse. Frederick FitzClarence l is on a visit 
to Mrs. [Feilding?] She [Princess Charlotte] is 
very fond of him, and makes him ride with her every 
day, to the great annoyance of her Aunts as if the 
Granny knew it she would be much displeased, and 
I believe that is her chief reason for wishing it. 
Her Governess Lady de Clifford, 2 she has not the 

1 Son of William IV and Mrs. Jordan. 

2 Sophia widow of Edward Southwell, 2oth Baron de 
Clifford. Her grandson George 6th Earl of Albemarle gives 
some amusing anecdotes of Princess Charlotte and Lady 
de Clifford in his Fifty Years of my Life, Vol. I. p. 339, 340. 


Appendix I 

smallest degree of respect for. I think her clever 
and she has a great deal of royal wit. 

"Private. The poor K g remains in the same 
state. He is now entirely under the care of Willis 
and his people, and none of his own servants go 
nearer than the next room. There was no truth in 
the report I told you of dropsy, or any illness but 
this most melancholy mental one. They are all 
much more cheerful than I expected to find them, 
and very kind to me. My apartment is very com- 
fortable. I have nothing to plague me no footman 
to scold for being out of the way, and no more bills 
to fret about. Harriet I am sure is better at 

B [?] than with me, and I hope is happy. You 

my dearest Albinia happily married; I hope to 
arrange my Waiting to be with you next spring. . . ." 

[Allusions to the heat of the dog days and the 
impending marriage of Lord Plymouth with Lady 
Mary Sackville daughter of the late Duke of 


[A letter from the Lady Albinia Cumberland to 
her daughter Albinia giving an account of the King's 
mental state, dated July 27 [1811] has been already 
quoted in the text (page 281).] 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 


Extract of letter from H.R.H. Princess Mary to 
the Lady Albinia Cumberland. 

" Jany. 26, 1812. 

" I loved your sweet Harriet and knew all her 
merits, and always thought her a lovely creature, 
and one who had she lived would have been a great 
and bright ornament to society, as she had every 
quality to be both loved and liked, and a warm and 
most excellent heart, and for those she loved she 
would do anything." 



H.R.H. Princess Mary to the Lady Albinia 
Cumberland [Extract]. 

'''March 27, 1812. 

" By the papers you will have seen what has 
passed in Parliament on our account, and this 
decided measure of course obliges us to make many 
changes which are extremely painful to our feelings, 
but are however absolutely necessary. Our first 
object I trust you will believe, my dearest Lady 

Appendix I 

Albinia is to consider as far as we can the feelings 
of those who have faithfully served us for many 
years. Need I say you mark the first on the list as 
17 years of experienced duty attachment and affec- 
tion we have received from you can never be effaced 
from our memory, (I write in the name of Sophia as 
well as my own). Liberal as is the allowance Par- 
liament has made for us, you must be sensible, as 
it is never to increase, that our plans must be formed 
on a prudent basis. Therefore it is not in our power 
to have more than one lady belonging to each of us ; 
in consequence it must make the duty extremely 
arduous, as, take it on an average six months will 
be the least attendance required of each lady, besides 
being forthcoming at other times should attendance 
be required in town or elsewhere. This at once must 
put an end to any lady asking for a long leave of 
absence as our wish is to confine the waiting to 
alternate months, or at utmost never to exceed two. 
It will likewise not be possible for us to give the 
same salary the Queen's kindness used to allow the 
ladies to enjoy as long as they have been selected 
and appointed by her. Therefore you cannot be 
surprised to hear the salaries will not be in future 
more than 300 a year . . ." &c. 

[If the offer is not accepted the Princesses offer 
in confidence a pension of a 100 a year. Princess 
Sophia writes very affectionately a few days later 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

to the same effect. Lady Albinia declined con- 
tinuing in waiting.] 


DUKE OF GLOUCESTER, July 22, 1816. 

The Lady Albinia Cumberland to her daughter 

" Tuesday [1816]. 


" Well the wedding is over ! Dear P 55 Mary 
looked most lovely and Angelic really. Her dress 
a rich silver tissue of dead silver (no shine] no 
trimming upon it : lace round the neck only. 
Diamond necklace. The Hair dressed rather 
high The Diamonds put round the Head, some- 
thing in the form of a diadem. When everybody 
was assembled in the Saloon, the Dukes of Cam- 
bridge and Clarence handed Her in. She looked 
very modest & was quite overcome. The P. Regent 
stood at the other end to the Duke of Gloucester. 
She stood alone to the former, quite leaning against 
Him. Indeed she needed support, I thought she 
would faint. I pitied the Duke of Gloucester] for 
he stood a long time at the Altar waiting till she came 
into the room giving cakes, carrying wine &c. After 

the ceremony the Regent & Duke of C. saluted 

Appendix I 

her, & I don't think the Duke of Gloucester did. 
She then went to the Queen & Sisters and was 
quite overcome, was obliged to sit down, & nearly 
fainted but soon recovered, & exerted herself to 
the utmost, went round to all Her Friends shook 
hands with them but did not speak. I took great 
pains to stand as near as I could with propriety 
and I thought had got a very good place for seeing 
Her, and was close to the Altar, but the Princes all 
came in, and the Duke of Kent stood exactly before 
me. So I only got a peep with great difficulty. The 
heat of the rooms, the number of coaches, and the 
heat of the night was awful ! It has made me quite 
unwell, but I must proceed to tell you that the Duke 
of Gloucester kissed Miss Dee, Lady Isabella 
[Thynne], and Lady Matilda Wynyard, and many 
more but I did not see him go to His new sisters, I 
suppose He did think of going 26 miles late at 
night, after all the agitation she has undergone ! 
They remain there a week alone, & next Tuesday all 
the Royalties go to dine at Bagshot. 

" I spoke to very few people, Lady Castlereagh, 
Lady Cholmondeley, my grand relations, I shook 
hands with. I sat some time by Lady Melville. 1 
She said Ldy Aberdeen 2 is near her time, does not 

1 Formerly Lady Jane Dundas. 

2 Mother of the fifth Earl of Aberdeen. By her first hus- 
band she was mother of the first Duke of Abercorn. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

go to Scotland this year. She said something of 
Lady Olivia wishing to see you again and that she 
had enquired much after you The Duke of 
Gloucester kissed the Regent, & the Duke of 
Cambridge. I am glad it is all over, for I thought 
it very disagreeable and a very long ceremony so 
many people I did not know, and all the old women 
so dressed out, myself amongst them. 4 Feathers, 
and silver Janbon sleeves trimmed as full as pos- 
sible, all silver, upon blond. One entire peticoat 
of portugal[?] net, worked with silver spots [illustra- 
tion] all over rich bandeaus of blond around, the 
same as the pattern I send worked silver all this 
given by the Queen the gown and train and cap I 
bought. I looked as big as a House, though I allow 
the dress was handsome. I go to Roehampton 1 
on Monday and take Sophy. 

" God bless you, 

" Yr Affecte. 

"A. C." 

1 Lord Buckinghamshire's house. 



THE act of 1772, 12 Geo. Ill c. XI, for the better 
" Regulating the future Marriages of the Royal 
Family," provided that no descendant of George II, 
male or female (other than the issue of princesses 
who had married, or might marry, into foreign 
families), should be capable of contracting matri- 
mony without the previous consent of the Sovereign, 
signified under the Great Seal, and declared in 
Council (which consent was to be set out in the 
Licence and Register of Marriage, and to be entered 
in the books of the Privy Council); every marriage 
of any such descendant without such consent made 
null and void. 

" PROVIDED ALWAYS by Section 2 of the Act- 
that in case any such descendant, being above the 
age of 25 years, should persist in his or her resolu- 
tion to contract a marriage disapproved of or dis- 
sented from by the Sovereign ; then such descendant, 
upon giving notice to the King's Privy Council, which 
notice was to be entered in the books thereof, might, 

at any time from the expiration of 12 calendar 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

months after such notice given, contract such mar- 
riage ; and his or her marriage with the person before 
proposed and rejected, might be duly solemnized, 
without the previous consent of the Sovereign, and 
such marriage should be good, unless both Houses 
of Parliament should, before the expiration of the 
said 12 months, expressly declare their disappro- 
bation of such intended marriage." 

[The Duke of Sussex having, in defiance of the 
Royal Marriage Act, married Lady Augusta Murray, 
daughter of the Earl of Dunmore (firstly at Rome 
on the 4th of April 1793, and secondly in St. 
George's, Hanover Square, on Dec. 5th of the same 
year), the marriage was declared null and void, and 
dissolved in the following August. During the 
inquiry it transpired that the parties had been dis- 
guised at the ceremony, and the parson seems not 
to have known them. So improbable, however, did 
it appear that all those who were present should 
have been ignorant of the truth, that, when the 
affair came to be investigated by the Privy Council, 
Lord Thurlow denounced their conduct in most 
violent language. " Sir," he said angrily to Lord 
Eldon, "why have you not prosecuted under the 
Act of Parliament all the parties concerned in this 
abominable marriage ? " Happily the Attorney- 
General (Lord Eldon) was ready with a reply. " I 

Appendix II 

answered," he writes, "that it was a very difficult 
business to prosecute; that the Act, it was under- 
stood, had been drawn by Lord Mansfield, Mr. 
Attorney -General Thurlow, and Mr. Solicitor- 
General Wedderburn, who unluckily had made all 
parties present at the ceremony guilty of felony, and 
as nobody could prove the marriage except persons 
who had been present at it, there could be no pro- 
secution, because nobody present could be compelled 
to be a witness." This put an end to the matter. 
-Twiss, Life of Eldon, Vol. I. p. 235.] 




[General FitzRoy's Papers (the late Honourable 
Mrs. W. Lowther's)] 

Remembrances to the Royal Family. 

1. The King A gold watch-chain with 


2. The Queen An ivory souvenir. 

3. The Prince of Wales . The sardonyx snuff-box. 

4. The Duchess of Wiir- A gold pin bodkin and gold 

temberg chain. 

5. Princess Augusta ... A small pearl necklace. 

6. [Omitted. Princess 


7. Pss. Mary A set of turquoise and gar- 


8. Pss. Sophia A small pearl necklace and 

a gold watch given by 
the King to the Princess 

9. Princess Charlotte . . A set of small pink topazes. 

10. The Duchess of York . Set of antiques in gold. 

11. Princess Sophia Matilda Gold bandeau, bracelets and 


12. The Duke of Cambridge. Princess Mary's pictures and 

an inkstand. 


Appendix III 

i. Mrs. George Villiers 

2. Miss Theresa Villiers . 

3. Mr. George Villiers . . 

4. Lady Dungannon . . 

5. Lady Grosvenor . . . 

6. Lady Amelia Grosvenor 

7. Gen. Wynyard . . . 

8. Lady Matilda Wynyard 

9. Mrs. Robert Moore's 


The cornelian with small 
diamonds given by the 
Prince to the Pss. Amelia. 

The yellow topazes. 

A gold pencil. 

The aqua marinas. 

A small cornelian set. 

Lady Grosvenor's picture. 

Lady Matilda's picture and 
a necklace of her. 

Small pearl comb, chain and 

Dowager Mrs. Moore's pic- 

10. Dowager Mrs. Moore . Archbishop Moore's picture. 

11. Lady Neale 

12. Mrs. Gwynn .... 

13. Mrs. Drax 

14. Mrs. Orm 

15. Baroness Howe . . . 

1 6. Dowager Lady Harcourt 

17. Lady Ailesbury . . . 

1 8. Mrs. Jervis Holmes 

[Pss. Amelia's foster- 

Pearl bandeau and feather in 
black velvet. 

A pair of bracelets with 
mosaics ; Mrs. Bunbury 
and the Duss. of York's 

A ring with an antique and 
a brooch. 

An upright pianoforte. 

A pearl locket and golden 
chain, with Lady Mary 
Howe's pictures. 

A coral necklace, with brace- 

Light coral set. 

The gilt porrenger used by 
Pss. Am. when a child. 


The Romance of Princess Amelia 

19. Mrs. Captain Robert 

Williams, Mill Hill 

20. Mrs. Robert Williams 

of Bedford Square 

21. Lady Cardigan . . . 

22. Lady Caroline Walde- 


23. Lady Pitt 

24. Miss Knight .... 

25. [Mile] Mountmollin . . 

26. Miss Planta 

27. Lady Isabella Thynne . 

28. Mrs. Adams .... 

29. Mrs. Fielding .... 

30. Miss Finch 

31. Miss Mat Fielding . . 

32. Miss Augusta Fielding 

33. Mrs. Norman . . . 

34. Miss Cheveley . . 

35. Miss M. Cheveley 

36. Mrs. Davenport . . 

37. Mrs. Robinson . . , 

38. Mrs. Brochels . . . , 

39. Miss Byerly 

40. Mrs. Howe . 

Amethyst girdle and brooch. 
A gold net and butterfly. 

A brooch cameo. 

A pair blue enamel and steel 

Two brooches with the King 
and Queen's heads. 

A set of light cornelian. 

A necklace of small coral 

A golden brooch. 

An ivory fan. 

A box with the King's 
cypher enamelled on it. 

An ivory fan. 

A fan. 

A ring with Lady C. Finch's 
hair [her grandmother's 

A pair of pearl buckles. 

A fan. 

A fan. 

A fan. 

A plain common clock in a 
black wooden case. 

Two pairs of plated candle- 

An old-fashioned gold watch 
left by the late Mrs. Clarke 
to the Pss. Amelia, and a 
gold chain and seal. 

Various small trinkets. 

A small gold watch. 



A. B. by Will gives certain specific Legacies to 
C. D. and all the Rest and Residue of his effects he 
leaves to E. F. as Residuary Legatee and constitutes 
R. S. and T. W. his Executors. It may not be 
improper to suggest that A. B. in his Life Time had 
expressed his wishes to the said E. F. the Residuary 
Legatee as to the disposal of some parts of such 
Residue and a particular direction that some other 
parts thereof should not come to the hands of par- 
ticular persons. 

The Executors have not yet proved the Will, but 
soon after the death of A. B. desired an interview 
with E. F. the Residuary Legatee and at that Meet- 
ing E. F. at the desire of the Executors signed a 
Paper in the following words, " I request R. S. and 
T. W. to have the goodness to accept the office of 
Residuary Legatee to A. B/s W T ill instead of me 
E. F." This was signed by him after acquainting 
the Executors that he was possessed of such Instruc- 
tions from the Testator aforesaid and presuming that 
no part of such Residue would be disposed of by 
u 305 

The Romance of Princess Amelia 

the Executors without first consulting him, they 
having given him the fullest Assurance and pledged 
their honour that they would fulfil the wishes of the 
Testator in the disposal thereof as exactly as 

Since the signing of the said conditional Docu- 
ment the Executors have disposed of Part of these 
effects without consulting the said E. F. and in direct 
contradiction to the wishes and Injunctions of the 

For this reason E. F. is most anxious to set aside 
the same and that the wishes of the Testator which 
he had been so entrusted as aforesaid may be carried 
in to execution. 

Your opinion is therefore desired : How far the 
document so signed by him as aforesaid may be 
deemed binding in Law, and by what legal means if 
any he can resume that Power which will enable him 
to carry out the wishes of the Testator where with 
he had been entrusted as aforesaid into Execution. 
That being his great and only object. 

[Opinion] The Paper signed by E. F. is one of 
the most serious nature and will be extremely 
difficult to be got rid of. At the same time as it 
is stated to have been accompanied by a condition 
which has not been performed on the part of the 
Executors, I am not without hopes that this may 

be accomplished. This is quite evident, however, 

Appendix IV 

that this cannot be the business of a Court of Law. 
Even a legacy cannot be there enforced. Much 
less can the renunciation of a legacy or residuary 
devise be there overset. But I think it more than 
possible that if the fact of the condition, which 
accompanied the renunciation, can be established 
and the non-compliance with or rather the direct 
contravention of that condition can be proved, a 
Court of Equity, where alone such a matter is 
cognizable, will interpose to restore such a legatee 
to his original rights, which he had thus unwarily 

But I am of opinion the residuary devisee cannot 
do this by any act of his own, nor can he by his own 
authority resume the power he has thus imprudently 

J. A. PARK. 1 

Line. Inn Fields, 
Deer. 27th 1810. 

1 Afterwards Sir James Allan Park, Attorney-General of 
Lancaster in 1811; not to be confounded with Sir James 
Parke, Lord Wensleydale. 









ADAMS, MRS., 234 

Alderton, 114-119 

Amelia, Princess, her ancestors 
and parentage, 17-27 ; birth 
and childhood, 28-35 > personal 
appearance and attainments, 
36 ; delicate constitution, 37 ; 
letters to Lady Albinia Cum- 
berland, 37-42 ; confirmation, 
49 ; life at Weymouth, 52 ; first 
association with FitzRoy, 52- 
$6 ; returns to Windsor, 57 ; 
quarrels with Miss Gomme, 57 ; 
correspondence with her mother, 
59 et seq., and with Princess 
Mary, 66 ; illness, 78 ; testa- 
mentary instructions to Fitz- 
Roy ; letters to Lady Harcourt, 
79-81 ; becomes acquainted 
with Mrs. Villiers, 85 ; visits 
Weymouth and Cuffhells, 90- 
91 ; riding accident, 92 ; re- 
turn to Windsor, 93 ; position 
in regard to Royal Marriage 
Act. 100 ; letters to Mrs. Vil- 
liers, 103-111 ; visits Stoke 
Bruerne, 114; miniatures of, 
120 ; letters to FitzRoy, 122, 
124, 135, 151 ; letter to Miss 
Goldsworthy, 1 58 ; her benevo- 
lence, 1 59 et seq. ; letter to Lady 
Harcourt, 164 ; borrows money 
from FitzRoy, 168 ; confidence 
in the Prince of Wales, 172 ; 
letters to FitzRoy, 173 et seq. ; 
applies to Privy Council for 
licence to marry FitzRoy, 179 ; 
letter to Prince of Wales on this 
subject, \iqetseq. ; her remarks 

on marriage, 183 ; nature of 
her illness and her physicians, 
189 ; critical state, 194 ; rally 
and hope of marriage, 197 ; her 
will, 198 ; false rumours of 
marriage, 210 et seq. ; final 
letter to FitzRoy, 214 ; final 
stage of illness, 218 et seq. ; 
clandestine meetings with Fitz- 
Roy, 221 ; last gift to her father, 
225 ; death, 227 ; her will and 
how carried out, 250 et seq. ; 
valuation of her effects, 269 

Amelia, Princess (daughter of 
George II), 17, 1 8, 115 et seq. 

Andover, 90, 201 

Auckland, Lord, 90, 91 

Augusta, Princess, 23, 26, 76, 78, 
222, 224 

Augusta d'Este, 163, 164 

Bagot, Lord, 121, 122 

Baillie, Dr., 216-17 

Baldwin, William, letter from, 273 

Beadon, Mrs., 212 

Bicknell, Mr., 254, 263 et seq., 270, 


Boringdon, Lord, 177 
Bremen, 104 

Buckingham, Marquis of, 187 
Buckingham Palace, note on, 28 
Buckley, Lady Georgiana, 91, 

152, 153, 154 

Bulkeley, Lord, quoted, 187 

Burney, Fanny (Mme. d'Arblay), 

quoted, 19, 29, 31, 36 ; visits 

Princess Amelia at Juniper 

Hill, 46; quoted 52, 57,71, 122 



Cadlands, 91 

Cambridge, Adolphus Duke of, 
76, 240, 250, 254 

Carpenter, Lady Almeria, 39 

Castlereagh, Lord, 186 

Cathcart, Lord, 104 

Charlemagne, compared with 
George III, 23 

Charles, Archduke, 104 

Charlotte, Queen, 17, 19, 21 ; her 
love for the king, 22 ; corre- 
spondence withPrincessAmelia, 
58 et seq. ; attitude towards 
FitzRoy, 68 et seq. ; behaviour 
to the king, 95 ; her description 
of the Royal Family, 133; letters 
to Princess Amelia, 144 et seq., 

Charlotte, Princess, 100, 292 

Chatham, Lord, 109, no 

Chesterfield, Countess of, 241 

Cheveley, Mrs., 31, 46, 47 

Clarence, William Duke of, 48, 
75, 176 

Clarke, Mrs., 185 et seq. 

Cranbourne Lodge, 148 

Cranley, Lady, 229 

Cuffnells, King George III at, 

Cumberland, Lady Albinia, 37, 42, 
43, 46 ; her daughter's account 
of Princess Amelia's death, 

Cumberland, Richard (dramatist), 

Ernest, Duke of, 75, 100, 



Delany, Mrs., quoted, 19, 29 
Disbrowe, Lady Charlotte, 38 

Colonel, 39, 46, 230 

Miss, 234 

Doyley, Mrs., 139 
Dundas, Lady Jane, 286 
Dungannon, Lady, 63 


Elizabeth, Princess, 23 ; marriage, 
26, 72, 76, 1 56 ; behaviour to 

Princess Amelia during her ill- 
ness, 209 

Ely, Lady, 41 

Euston, Lord, 139 

Farnham Castle, 93 
Farquhar, Sir Walter, 109 
Feilding, Lady Sophia, 34 
Finch, Lady Charlotte, 34, 105 
FitzGerald, Percy, quoted, 207, 209 
FitzHerbert, Mrs., 100 
FitzRoy,Generalthe Hon.Charles, 
at Weymouth, 52 ; origin and 
early life, 53 first association 
with Princess Amelia, 53 ; in 
Germany, 54 ; characteristics, 
55 ; letter to Princess Amelia, 
72, 79, 92, 113, 150; lends her 
money, 168 ; rumours of his 
marriage with her, 210; secret 
meetings with her, 221, 251 ; 
connection with the proving of 
Princess Amelia's will, 253 ; his 
marriage and death, 283 
FitzRoy, Charles, second Duke of 

Grafton, 116 
Fox, Charles James, 1 10 

Gaskoin, Mary Anne, 129, 130, 
201, 248 

George III, treatment of his 
daughters, 23 ; compared with 
Charlemagne, 23 ; first illness, 
31 ; recovery, 33 ; relapse, 51 ; 
position among his family, 69 ; 
return of illness, 82 ; visit to 
Weymouth, 90 ; temporary re- 
storation to health, 97; relations 
with Pitt, 107 ; domestic habits, 
112; letters to Princess Amelia, 
207-8 ; anxiety for his daugh- 
ter's health, 218 ; arranges for 
her funeral, 238 et seq. ; his in- 
sanity, 181 

George, Prince of Wales, 33, 82, 
94, 118, 171, 213, 250, 252, 

Gloucester, William Henry, Duke 


of (brother of George III), 39 
(note), loo 

Gloucester, William Frederick, 
2nd Duke of (son of preceding) 
marries Princess Mary, 26 ; ac- 
count of wedding, Appendix i, 

Goldsworthy, Miss, 34, 57, 134, 

137, 158 
Gomme, Miss, 34 ; described, 52, 

57, 13.4, 137, i45 152 
"Grenville Administration," the, 


Lord, 94, 1 1 1 

Grosvenor, Harriet, Countess, 118 

Earl, 199 

G wynne, General, 105 
Mrs., 303 


Halford, Sir Henry, 27, 106, 190, 

206, 228, 226, 233 

Lady, 241 

Harcourt, Countess, 20, 78, 164 
Mrs., 83 ; her account of the 

King and the Royal Family, 

112 et seq. 

Harrington, Lord, 105 
Harrow, George III at, 86 
Hawkesbury, Lord, 108 
Heard, Sir Isaac, 246 
Henley, Lord, 90 
Hertford, Lord, 127 
Hessen-Homburg, Landgraf of, 


Hobart, Lord, 91, 94 
Hone, Mr., quoted, 160 
Howe, Baroness, 303 
Hurd, Bishop, 49 


Ilchester, Lady, 91, 103, 234, 241 


Jesse, J. H., quoted, 83, 100, 188, 

249, 280 
Jordan, Mrs., 166 


Keate, Dr., 37, 38 

Kent, Duke of, 64, 74 

Kew, Court life at, 32 

Knight, Charles, 235 

Miss, quoted, 224, 235, 280 

Leigh, Lady, letter from, 24 (note) 
Lennox, Lady Sarah, 19 
Lewis, Lady Theresa, 85 
Liverpool, Lord, 90 
Lyndhurst, 91 


Macclesfield, Lord George, 105 

Countess of, 241 

Malmesbury, Lord, 83, 95 

Manners, General, 113 

Mary, Princess, 23 ; marriage, 26, 

40, 48 ; correspondence with 

Princess Amelia ; 66, 76 ; 

letter from, 98, 227, 228 
Milman, Sir Francis, 117, 189, 


Montmolin, Mile., 232 
Moore, Sir John, 185 


Neale, Lady, 303 
North, Lord, 92 

Park, Sir James Allan, Counsel's 

opinion of General FitzRoy's 

case, Appendix iv, 305 
Parke, Sir James, Lord Wensley- 

dale, 283 

Peachey, Hon. James, 41 
Pepys, Sir Lucas, 37, 46 
Phipps, General, 105, 106 
" Pindar, Peter," 226 
Pitt, William, 22, 23 ; illness of, 

1 06 ; death, 109 
Pope, Dr., 190, 194, 196, 255 
Princess Royal, 23 ; marriage, 





Ragley, 127 
Romilly, Sir S., 186 
Rose, Rt. Hon. G., 51, 91, 93 
Rothes, Lady, 46, 49 
Rudesl, General, 55 

Saltram, 86, 178 

Sholebrook, 117, 119, 271 

Sidmouth, Lord, no 

Sidney, Lady, 108 

Smith, Lady Anne, 207 

" Snuff-taking," 121 et seq. 

Sophia, Princess, 23, 27, 40 ; her 

story, 87, 189 
Stoke Bruerne, 1 14 */ seq. 
Sussex, Augustus Duke of, 75 ; 

letter to Princess Amelia, 127, 

163, 300 

Taylor, Sir Herbert, 107, 109, 

113, 205, 282 
Thynne, Lady Isabella, 91, 191 


Uxbridge, Lady, 83 

Vaughan, Dr., vide Halford 
Vernon, Lady Henrietta, 115, 117 
Vernon, Miss Caroline, 118 
Victoria, Queen, 19 
Villiers, Hon. Mrs. George, 55, 
84 ; attachment to Princess 
Amelia, 85-89, 103, 131, 140, 
190 et seq. ; her denial of report 
of Princess Amelia's marriage, 
2ii et seq. 

Villiers, Hon. George, 84, 108, 
in, 216, 262 


Walker, Mrs., 165 
Walpole, Horace, quoted, 39 
Warren, Lady, 41 
Wilkins, W. H., quoted, 22 
Williams, Mrs., 139, 165, 217 
Willis, Dr. Francis, 32 ; his son, 

Windsor, life of Royal Family at, 

21, 28, 93 ; concert and ball 

at, 97 ; Garter ceremony at, 

98, 103 ; Court intrigues at, 


Wiirtemberg, Prince of, 25 
Wynne, Miss Frances Williams, 

quoted, 276 
Wynyard, Lady Matilda, 61, 91, 

1 54 et seq. 


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A8C4 The romance of Prince